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City of Liverpool FC’s Legends side played out an entertaining fixture at The Purple Hub on Sunday against Mersey Fire and Rescue, with the Purps running out 3-2 winners.
The Legends team was announced in July 2020 but the team was unable to play any fixtures until now due to COVID restrictions. However, with regulations now eased, COLFC and Mersey Fire and Rescue joined forces to raise vital funds for The Owen McVeigh Foundation.
The match was played out in rainy conditions, which didn’t put off around 50 hardened Purps who attended to cheer on their Treble winning heroes. Amongst a plethora of returning idols, the Purps were pleased to welcome back Danny Dalton for his first game back since picking up a serious achilles injury in September 2019’s FA Cup tie against Warrington Town.
After a cagey opening, The Purps went ahead when Phil MacDiarmid hammered a left footed effort from fully 30 yards into the top corner, leaving the Mersey Fire keeper with no chance. It was fitting that the first goal for the Purps Legends was straight out of the top drawer.
Former Purps player and coach MacDiarmid made it a quick-fire double shortly afterwards, slotting home low inside the area, this time with his right foot, which the visiting keeper was unlucky not to keep out.
As the half closed out, treble season penalty hero Stephen Longrigg picked up an innocuous injury and had to be replaced in the net by reluctant keeper Allen Weston. Declan Gregson entered the fray to replace Longy, fresh from playing for The Canada earlier in the afternoon.
After the interval, Mersey Fire grew back into the game and got a deserved goal with a free kick bent expertly around the wall and low past Weston into the net.
The Purps wasted a number of good opportunities on the counter-attack, and Mersey Fire made them pay, scoring a well taken equaliser from close range.
Mersey Fire continued to threaten the Purps goal and nearly stole a winner late on but for a brilliant point-blank range save from Allen Weston, who pushed the ball around the post for a corner as the crowd expected the net to ripple.
Just as the game was coming to an end Weston rushed up from goalkeeper as the Purps had a corner deep into injury time. Weso had eyes on replicating Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker, but the whipped corner from the left narrowly evaded him, to the delight of his team-mates who knew they’d never hear the last of it if he scored!
As an even game looked destined to end in a draw, Phil MacDiarmid hammered a left footed effort from 25 yards which flew in off the post to complete a deserved hat-trick. The Purple Pirlo ran the show all afternoon and picked up the match-ball with the last kick of the game, to the delight of a drenched but vocal home faithful.
A special mention should go to referee Keith Jones, who kindly volunteered to officiate the fixture as the last match of his 48 year refereeing career. Keith is a Purps fan and well known face at the match, who we congratulate on a fantastic career of dedication to grassroots footy.
The real winner on the day of course was The Owen McVeigh Foundation, as supporters and players alike gave generously to support a fantastic cause.
Any Purps who were unable to make the match but would like to make a donation should head to https://www.owenmcveighfoundation.co.uk/donate/
The foundation’s website is also a great place to check out the wonderful work they are doing supporting children with cancer and their families across Merseyside.
Player-manager Tom Spearritt was delighted to see his side playing in front of the Purps fans again, “Massive thanks to all who braved the weather and turned up to support the lads and The Owen McVeigh Foundation.”
“In difficult conditions I thought both teams played some great football, especially Todd and Phil in the middle of the park. It was great to see Danny back playing after his long spell out of the game through injury too. Big thanks also to Lee and the Mersey Fire lads for getting a team together.”
“We are looking forward to doing it all again soon and hoping for better weather for our next match in July – watch this space!”
COLFC LEGENDS SQUAD: Stephen Longrigg, Tom Spearritt, Allen Weston, Danny Dalton, Franny Foy, Todd Blayney, Phil McDiarmid, Daley Woods, Aaron Rey, Billy Webb, John Connolly, Declan Gregson, Jamil Campbell-Joseph.
Man of the Match: Phil MacDiarmid. It couldn’t be anyone else really could it? A virtuouso performance from MacDiarmid who delivered a masterclass in long range shooting and deservedly got his hat trick late on.