MATCH REPORT | City of Liverpool 6-1 West
Saturday 6th January 2018, NWCFL Premier Division
City of Liverpool 6 (Peterson 45, 79, Connolly 63, 90+3, Shacklock 72, 89)
West 1 (Bailey 45+1)
A new year began with the same old story for West as City of Liverpool became the latest side to hand out a heavy and unnecessarily morale-sapping defeat.
For the first hour, West appeared to have made a few New Year’s resolutions of their own as they frustrated one of the division’s form sides, Tom Bailey cancelling out Thomas Peterson’s opener, but they melted away once Josh Connolly put the Purps ahead again in the 63rd minute and surrendered a further four goals.
The prospect of West conceding five or more goals in a game for the sixth time this season looked highly unlikely after a satisfactory opening period. West enjoyed the better of the chances, with Bailey and Omar McKenzie both having shots charged down in promising positions, and looked comfortable in defence with Purps attacks repeatedly foundering 30 yards from debutant James Hodges’ goal. The visitors even shook off the early withdrawal of Ben Steer, who suffered a twisted knee just after the half-hour. The home side did wrest control towards the end of the first half and were rewarded when Peterson gobbled up a rebound inside the six-yard box, but West immediately struck back to go in level when McKenzie’s low cross was tapped in by the lurking Bailey.
West continued to stymie the home side at the beginning of the second half, but the game changed after Bailey squandered a glorious opportunity to put the visitors ahead, firing well over when one-on-one with Purps keeper Graeme McCall. The Purps snatched the initiative and punished that miss when Connolly headed a long free-kick over Hodges and into the corner of the net.
Substitute Joe Comozzi blazed over from close range not long afterwards as West rocked, but the home side didn’t have to wait long to extend their lead as Dean Shacklock finished a break from a West corner. The visitors disintegrated at this point and their woeful goal difference was eroded further as the Purps plundered three more goals in the game’s dying embers. First, Peterson claimed his second of the afternoon when he slid in to convert Luke Denson’s low cross, then Shacklock wriggled past two challenges in the box and beat Hodges. Finally, Connolly secured a double of his own in the third minute of stoppage time when he was given the freedom of the West half to finish past the stranded keeper.
It was a crushing denouement that in no way reflected West’s industry for the majority of the match, but 28 goals conceded since the start of December tells its own story and is something that must be arrested as soon as possible if 2018 is not to become an annus horribilis.
West: Hodges, Potts, Tinker, Middleton, Bayunu, Mason, Steer (Whyment 33), Shaw, Bailey, Mendes Gomes, McKenzie (Clarke 76). Not used: Brockley.