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RELENTLESS PURPS PUNISH KIDSGROVE

City of Liverpool returned to winning ways with a 5-0 demolition of Kidsgrove Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

However, a fine result for Paul McNally’s side was marred by tragedy chanting from visiting Kidsgrove supporters, two days before the 35th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

The visiting supporters sang “always the victim” – a tragedy chant which is widely associated with Hillsborough and is a criminal offence.

As well has being witnessed by home supporters and staff, the tragedy chanting was noted by a number of neutral supporters and was acknowledged in a statement issued by Kidsgrove Athletic on social media shortly after full time.

On the field, Macca handed a start to Xenon Bahula who has returned to fitness after a long period out, whilst Michael Grogan returned to the bench for the first time since suffering an injury against Widnes.

It was a slow start to the match from both sides, although the visitors moved the ball nicely in the opening stages – particularly through holding midfielder Ernest Ofosu and winger Nathan Morley.

Despite some periods of possession, the visitors never laid a threat to Calvin Hare’s goal, although Ofosu fired a couple of yards over the bar with a speculative effort from distance early on.

City of Liverpool almost went ahead out of nothing when a mistake at the back saw Kidsgrove gift the ball to Josh Quarless, allowing the Purps’ top marksman to stride through on goal.

Quarless lifted a lobbed effort over the advancing Kieran Harrison but the ball agonisingly rebounded off the crossbar and back into the custodian’s grateful arms.

It wouldn’t be long before the Purps took the lead however, and it came in somewhat fortuitous fashion!

Ismail Sonko was the “architect” as he skipped beyond a couple of challenges down the right before curling in a deep cross which flew over the head of Harrison and directly into the net.

Out of nothing the Purps were ahead!

HALF TIME: City of Liverpool 1-0 Kidsgrove Athletic

City of Liverpool came out with a real intent at the start of the second period and Xenon Bahula in particular was a real thorn in the side of the Kidsgrove defence.

Much as had been the case in the first half, Xenon skipped past defenders at will and earned his side a penalty after 51 minutes when he was felled by Harvey Washington.

Kenny Strickland stepped up and made no mistake, hammering home from the spot to put his side two to the good.

The Purps continued on the front foot and looked threatening with each foray forward.

Elliot Morris continued to occupy his marker in wide areas and terrify the visiting defence with his pace and trickery on the ball.

The excellent Ismail Sonko was the pick of a midfield which was a real platform of defensive solidity and direct driving runs when in possession.

Sonko went close again on 69 minutes after picking the ball up beautifully but his effort drifted wide of the post.

Paul McNally gave Bahula a well-earned rest after such a starring performance and introduced Jawad Jebrin, whilst skipper Danny Mitchley replaced Josh Quarless.

There was no let-up for Kidsgrove as JJ picked up where Xenon left off by hounding defenders in the press, as Mitchley picked up pockets of space around the edge of the box and battled in the air with a tired backline.

It wouldn’t be long before Mitchley got in on the action, scoring a screamer for what would be the pick of the afternoon’s goals.

The forward was picked out by a neat pass from Jebrin before hitting a ferocious effort on the half-volley which flew past Harrison and into the net.

What a strike from the skipper!

Going into injury time there was no let-up from the Purps who sensed an opportunity to add to their goal tally.

Substitute Kyle Schorah strode away after Kidsgrove made a mess of dealing with a long ball down field, and the forward selflessly squared for Jebrin to tap home into the unguarded net.

There was still time for more, as the Purps made it a late triple-salvo courtesy of another emphatic Strickland penalty.

The referee had no choice but the point to the spot after Danny Mitchley was scythed down with the goal at his mercy after a neat cut back by Elliot Morris.

Strickland stepped up to compound Kidsgrove’s misery, making it five goals in two weeks for a vital cog in the Purple Machine.

FULL TIME: City of Liverpool 5-0 Kidsgrove

City of Liverpool: Calvin Hare, Michael Simpson, Jack Hont, Kenny Strickland, Adam Rooney, Simon Wills, Elliot Morris, Ismail Sonko, Josh Quarless (Danny Mitchley 78′), Luke Byron (Kyle Schorah 76′), Xenon Bahula (Jawad Jebrin 69′).

Subs not used: Baba Conteh, Michael Grogan.

MAN OF THE MATCH:

Fit-again fan favourite Xenon Bahula gets the nod for an energetic display full of pace and trickery, which gave the visiting defence no respite all afternoon.

MANAGER’S INTERVIEW:

Paul McNally was pleased to see his side return to winning ways, praising a “perfect response” to last weekend’s defeat at Chasetown.

NEXT UP:

The Purps face Bootle in our rescheduled fixture from Easter Monday’s washout.

The match will be played at the DCBL Stadium, Widnes on Wednesday 17th April for a 7:45pm kick off.

As previously communicated, tickets bought for the original fixture remain valid.

Supporters are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid queues at the turnstiles and we’re hoping for a big home crowd to support Macca and the lads in an important fixture.

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