On a cold, wet and windy night in Liverpool a 12th minute Jonny Poizer goal was enough to secure West’s passage into the next round of the FA Cup.
Meeting just four days after their original meeting in the brilliant sunshine at Brookburn Road, the two teams met again at Marine FC in conditions more suited to winter than summer. Fortunately, despite the rain, the immaculate surface held up and a superb crowd was on hand to witness a thrilling cup tie.
West manager Steve Settle, returning from holiday, made two changes to the starting XI from the original tie as Paul Socha and Jonny Poizer replaced the injured Michael Simcock and Richmond Botchey. The re-shuffle saw Lee Gavin in the unfamiliar position of right back as Matty Kay dropped back into midfield.
West started brightly and Matty Kay forced the Liverpool goalkeeper O’Connell into a finger tip save as he attempted to bend one in from 30 yards out after just two minutes. A minute later Liverpool displayed their attacking intent as West goalkeeper Dean Williams was called into action to make a strong save after a pull back was volleyed towards goal.
After a breathless start by both teams the deadlock was broken on 12 minutes when a superb angled pass between full back and centre back by Joe Shaw released Poizer who collected the ball, calmly drew out the keeper into ‘dinked’ it past him as it rolled over the line to calmly write himself into the history books as West’s first ever away FA Cup goalscorer.
Liverpool responded by upping their tempo and again called Williams into action on 25 minutes making a save low to his right hand post after a quick passing move. Two minutes later they went close again as they flashed a long range effort just wide following a quick free kick.
It was West who finished the half strongest as on 43 minutes a superb cross field pass found Joe Shaw on the right hand side and his deep cross almost found the lurking Ash Woods at the far post. A minute later West won back possession from a throw in as Rob Black cut across field before curling a 20 yard effort at goal. The best move of the half came with the last touches of it, quick play from Shaw and Gavin found Martin Andrews on the right whose cross almost found the head of Poizer before the referee blew for a very soft push but it remained 1-0 West at the break.
The half time break sub the introduction of Emini Adebengro for AFC Liverpool, much a thorn in West’s side in the original fixture. Much like the original fixture the intensity refused to relent as the second half wore on and Ash Woods went close on 56 minutes as a one touch passing move found him at the edge of the area but he could only fire into the keepers hands having done well to evade his marker. Two minutes later Liverpool almost levelled when an effort from the edge of the area whisked just past the post.
West introduced Jordan Poole in place of Rob Black and he almost opened his account for the season instantly as a West corner reached him 20 yards out and his drilled shot was only just deflected wide for a corner. West’s pressure continued as a Liverpool were forced to parry away a corner before the follow up flashed wide of the post.
Liverpool didn’t give up though as they broke down the left through Adebengro And a superb block from Anthony Potts forced a corner. West led by Mark Rogers defended the corners superbly before Dean Williams was called into a massive save one-on-one from Adenbengro On 76 minutes. From the corner, Williams was pole-axed collecting the ball, however no foul was given and Potts brilliantly blocked the shot off the line.
The games controversy came from the resultant corner as the initial cross was cleared only to be played back into the six yard box into the path of Jason Carey who poked home but was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
With just six minutes remaining West had the chance to wrap up the cup tie as Poizer, Shaw and Woods exchanged a superb series of single touches releasing Woods into the penalty area but his shot virtually scraped the paint off the outside of the post.
Liverpool weren’t finished but their best chance came from West as a deep cross was scooped back over Williams head from the edge of the area forcing the goalkeeper into a superb finger tip save with Potts clearing the danger with half the Liverpool team bearing down on goal.
After an agonising five additional minutes of stoppage time the referee blew his whistle as West recorded their first ever away FA Cup victory.