All That Jazz

AFC LIVERPOOL 4 AFC BLACKPOOL 2

NWCFL First Division North

I am not going to be too welcome watching The Mechanics at this rate. Following last weeks loss to Emley I was in attendance again as they were defeated; this time at the hands of The Little Reds.

Following a pleasant train journey I disembarked at Blundellsands & Crosby into a cold wind coming in off the River Mersey, not too bad when I was walking to the ground but biting once I was in Rossett Park, home of Marine AFC where Liverpool are tenants. That wind became bitter.

It has been a while since I have been here and a bit of work has been done behind the main stand, though sadly, most of it was closed for today’s game. I am glad to say that the Tea Bar was open and hot food and drink was served by two lovely, but very cold ladies. Thank you! I love this ground. The main stand is behind the goal at the College Road end, with standing below a fair size seating area, as mentioned with the food facilities, this is where you will find all the club’s amenities. Opposite at the River end is an open terrace that looks like it could hold a fair few if required. Now, for the quirkiness I like the best. The ground is sandwiched between houses on Rossett Road and Jubilee Road. So much so that only a narrow walkway/terrace along the Jubilee Road side is available to move between the two ends. On top of this, all the houses have their numbers displayed inside the ground so club officials know either where they get their ball back from or who they owe a few quid too for a smashed window!

I came to this game expecting goals. Especially from the hosts. In their last 4 home games they had found the net on 4 occasions, including against fellow promotion candidates Emley AFC, they would make it five on the trot today. There can’t be too many teams that are on that kind of run at the moment.

Liverpool took the lead after five or so minutes, a long raking ball from Stephens at the back was nodded down by McGrane, Blackpool’s keeper Kellett was off his line and Cockerline coolly lifted the ball over him and into the net. 1-0. For the next 15 minutes it was pretty much all Liverpool. They then got their second. Genius or good fortune? Only Hardacre will know. The hosts had a free-kick on the left-wing, Hardacre swung the ball in. Cross? Shot? Either way it doesn’t really matter as it sailed straight over Kellett’s head and into the back of the net. 2-0. This could be painful for Blackpool.

It actually seemed to do the reverse, it shook them into life and just before the half hour they were back in it. Minutes after forcing a good save from the home keeper they beat him. A free-kick just outside the box was curled home by Thomas through the wall giving Carr in the home goal no chance. 2-1. We had a game. The visitors were in control and looked the more likely to score again, though Liverpool looked dangerous on the break, especially Hardacre. It was the right winger who came closest to scoring again before the break, this time from the right. Did he cross? Did he shoot? Again it sailed over Kellett, fortunately for the keeper as he turned the ball bounced back into his arms off the foot of the post. Half-time and chance for a warming brew. Very much welcome.

The hosts looked a little brighter after the restart, but 10 minutes in we were all square. Again a cross cum shot was on hand to provide a goal. From Blackpool’s left wing it curled viciously and looked to be beating Carr, he made a great one handed stop, but the only player to react was Thomas who snapped up the rebound. 2-2. It was deserved. For a while the visitors were on top and it looked like they were going to be the winners if the game was going to get one.

With a quarter of the game we had the moment of controversy and it gave the hosts the lead. A through ball from midfield found Schorah in so much space that it looked suspiciously offside. Was it? I wasn’t level so I don’t know. The assistant said not, so lets be controversial and go with that eh? The Liverpool man drew the keeper before selfishly laying the ball off to McGrane to finish. 3-2.

That goal took the wind out of The Mechanics sails and whilst they continued to huff and puff you got the feeling the game was now away from them and any further strikes would come from the Reds. It did. As we were in time added on AFC Liverpool kept up that incredible scoring run. Another through ball, substitute Lyons was through on goal, on his own he finished with class. 4-2.

As the final whistle went, I headed back into the wind and rain to get to Blundellsands & Crosby station, the teams to the dressing rooms, I would expect AFC Liverpool thought they deserved the 3 points, their opponents probably thought they deserved at least a share of the spoils. I could understand both points of view.

Next up for AFC Liverpool at home is Cheadle Town. Another 4?

Attendance: 80

Moment of the Match: Not part of the match, but a nod and fist bump to whoever prepares what has to be the nicest toilet I have ever been to at any football ground. Amazing.

Match Tunes: Crocodiles – Echo & the Bunnymen – For me, the best band ever to come out of this city.

Play for Today

AFC BLACKPOOL 0 EMLEY AFC 3

NWCFL First Division North

Some teams just catch the eye don’t they?

I have seen league leaders Lower Breck dismantle promotion chasing Daisy Hill, 4-0 up in 20 minutes and game over. Last week it was in-form Prestwich Heys play like a team and see off AFC Darwen. This Saturday, it was Emley AFC.

This was a different kind of performance. Playing with 3 at the back, wing-backs and a tight midfield, 2nd in the league showed why they are there. Though I must say after this performance I am a little surprised that they have conceded the second most of the top 7.

AFC Blackpool had a fair amount of possession. They attacked. But I cannot say that they troubled Clarke in the visitors goal too much. He, like Price, Kherbouche and Cyrus in front of him were solid. Claisse sat in front of these three was protective and made the team tick. Up front, Bordman and Eyles were eye-catching. Those not mentioned here put in just as good a performance.

The visitors took the lead after 15 minutes, Eyles finishing after being played in, it was a warning that wasn’t heeded. 0-1. Blackpool then had their best spell of the game, forcing a number of corners, trying to find a hole in the defence, whilst the Emley continued to look dangerous on the break or from 45 yards as Bordman went close with 2 very long range efforts.

The score remained close at the break after debutant home keeper Kellett, borrowed from their big neighbours, Blackpool FC, pulled off a couple of close range reaction saves to deflect efforts wide.

After a warming brew to get out of the biting Lancashire wind we were underway again, the game following the same pattern until the tangerine’s midfielder Fishwick was shown a red card after a second yellow. This booking was nailed on. I did think his first in the opening 45 minutes was a little harsh, but I wasn’t as close as the referee. Emley were now in total control.

They then went about closing it off in style, with a quarter of the game remaining, it was 0-2, Bordman cleverly laying off the ball behind him for Claisse to strike in from 20 yards, unstoppable. The third was added with a little more than 15 minutes remaining, when once again Eyles was played in on goal. Once again he scored. 0-3. And that was that. 3 points for the visitors and a class performance to boot. For Blackpool time to shake themselves down and come again.

Finally, a couple of mentions for the hosts, thanks to Billy Singleton for his time for a quick chat as he was writing out the teamsheet and club photographer Adam Gee for his time pre-match, hope to see you soon fella.

That walk back to Squires Gate station was a bit chilly I tell you!

Attendance: 72

Moment of the Match: Emley’s second goal. Bordman’s lay off with the sole of his boot backwards to the oncoming Claisse who then struck an unstoppable effort rising beyond Kellett’s grasp. Class.

Match Tunes: Seventeen Seconds – The Cure. A nod to one of the town’s sons, Robert Smith.