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City of Liverpool fell to a narrow defeat at the hands of 1874 Northwich on Tuesday night at the VanEupen Arena.

Michael Ellison welcomed new signing Anton Smith, a loan recruit from League Two side Salford City, and he was handed a place in the starting XI at right back.

George Hassall, a recent recruit from Warrington Rylands, continued up front alongside Djavan Pedro and Ryan Gibson, whilst there was a place on the bench for James Murphy who joined from Ramsbottom prior to the fixture.

The Purps were much the better side in the opening exchanges.

Following a period of sustained pressure, a corner from the right was delivered expertly by Louis Corrigan to be met by the outstretched boot of Adam Hughes at the near post, who fired a difficult chance narrowly wide.

The visitors were initially limited to counter attacking opportunities but looked dangerous when doing so.

Their first real foray forward saw the lively Taylor Kennerley race down the left before cutting inside and hammering a fierce low effort which cannoned back off the post. Such was the ferocity of the shot, it bounced straight out for a throw in to the Purps!

At the other end the Purps continued to threaten from aerial balls, and a trademark delivery from deep by Corrigan saw Pedro deliver a towering header across the face of goal.

Just as George Hassall looked likely to capitalise on the knock-down the 1874 defence scrambled the ball clear in the nick of time.

City of Liverpool looked dangerous in wide areas courtesy of the pacey Ryan Gibson, who was the latest to create an opportunity.

The winger raced clear down the right and delivered a delightful ball in which was met by a first-time finish by Djavan Pedro. The ball flew just wide, with the Purps faithful on the far side stand initially thinking Pedro had scored, and the forward looking visibly annoyed that he hadn’t!

The Purps continued to press for the opener, with Corrigan and Pedro at the very centre of the attacking play.

This time another corner was expertly delivered by the Purps left back and met by a bullet header from DJ into the side netting.

At the other end, 1874 continued to look dangerous on the counter attack and should have opened the scoring with the clearest opportunity of the match yet.

The unmarked Ashley Woods was presented with a free header in the Purps box, but somehow contrived to head high and wide.

It was a golden opportunity for ’74, which looked for all the world that the forward was about to take.

The visitors did take the lead not long after, however.

A corner from the right found Joe Woolley on the edge of the area who fired an effort which agonisingly took a double deflection before nestling in Theo Roberts net. A sucker punch!

The Purps rallied and almost responded in the perfect fashion as Theo Roberts released Gibson on the counter-attack.

The winger carried the ball into the ’74 half before neatly playing Salkeld in behind, who fired a firm finish which was clawed out by an excellent save from Tony Aghayere.

As the half concluded, Adam Hughes had to be at his best to make a brilliant low block after Kennerley majestically danced past a couple of challenges and found himself inside the box.

At the other end, on the stroke of half time a brilliant deep cross from debutant Anton Smith found Djavan Pedro in acres of space, but the forward headed over with the goal at his mercy.

HALF TIME: City of Liverpool 0-1 1874 Northwich

At the interval Michael Ellison withdrew Pedro for the fit again Freddie Potter, as the Purps looked to turn the game around.

The substitution almost paid dividends immediately as Potter received the ball on the edge of the area, taking it out of his feet and arrowing a ferocious left footed effort towards the top corner.

1874 goalkeeper Aghayere, so often the scurge of the Purps in the past, produced a ridiculously good save to somehow claw the ball out for a corner as the ground expected the net to bulge.

Potter continued to be the focal point and was denied again when the ball broke on the right-hand side of the area. The forward pulled the trigger in trademark style with plenty of the goal to aim at, but a brilliant block from Markel Foulds deflected the ball to safety.

The next opportunity saw Ryan Gibson feed Potter in a similar position, but the forward fired a cross shot across the face of goal and a yard or so wide.

With time running quickly out, the Purps were presented with one final opportunity deep into injury time, and it was their best chance yet.

Following a neat passing move from starting in their own half, the Purps drove forwards and a lovely ball from Hassall found Elliot Johnston 25 yards out. A bit of magic from the midfielder saw send his marker to the shop, before delicately picking out substitute James Murphy, who sliced agonisingly wide.

FULL TIME: City of Liverpool 0-1 1874 Northwich

Man of the Match: Nathan Burke. The skipper continuously drove forward and attempted to inject some creativity as we looked to find an equaliser.

City of Liverpool: Theo Roberts, Louis Corrigan (Zach Aley ’39), Anton Smith, Adam Hughes, Jack Hinnigan, Elliot Johnston, Nathan Burke, Ryan Gibson, Djavan Pedro (Freddie Potter ’45), George Hassall, James Salkeld (James Murphy ’63).

Subs not used: Ethan Devine, Xenon Bahula.





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