Hoping to continue on from an excellent start to the season which had seen 7 wins from a possible 7 games, scoring 27 and conceding just 3, the 1st XI were in buoyant mood as they entered the playing field at Edge Hill following the shift from Moor Lane due to the damage inflicted by Storm Brian the weekend before. With the swirling wind and driving rain present here also, the Ramblers swiftly got warm(-ish) and lined up in the now ever present 4-1-2-3 formation ready to take on Port Sunlight in the 4th Garrison Cup fixture of the season.
The game began with Sunlight arguably on top, pressing high to win the ball back but struggling to make any noticeable inroads as the usual centre back pairing of Duffy and acting skipper Doherty stood firm, with Chairman Rogers and Egan deployed in the full back roles and the oh-so reliable Nelson once again deputising for the injured Bag-of-Puss. As the half progressed the Ramblers began to come to life, with Phillips and Martin providing width down the right and left flanks respectively, Holt battling away up top and the midfield trio of Gendall, Handley and Kinsey beginning to take control. It wasn’t long before the first decent chance of the game came through some good work down the left from Gendall and Martin, which resulted in Holt picking up the ball centre left, cutting in and out-muscling the Sunlight centre half and having a decent low effort saved by the keeper.
The pressure grew as the Ramblers began to assert some dominance on the game playing some good football in the difficult conditions. Handley battled hard and won the ball from a scrappy bit of play which allowed him to release it into Holt, back to goal, who played a sublime flick into the path of Kinsey who neatly slotted Martin in for a composed near post finish. 1v0 LRAFC, Shields on for Holt, Ramblers in the ascendancy. With Phillips providing some much needed width down the right, Shields had the space to run in behind a duly accepted the opportunity following a perfectly weighted through ball which he raced onto. The inch perfect cross bent beautifully into the path of Martin who took a single touch to bring it down before curling it toward the bottom right, producing a great trailing foot save from the keeper, with the Ramblers unable to capitalise on the resulting corner.
As half time approached, Sunlight appeared to step up a gear and had a series of corners, one of which resulted in a last ditch off-the-line clearance from Kinsey as the ball looked to be heading in toward the bottom right. Half time, 1v0 LRAFC, so far so good. Phillips off, Holt on, Shields wide right.
The second half began with the poor conditions worsening, and likewise the quality of the football, with both sides struggling to get a grip of the ball and get it moving around the pitch as well as they would have liked. Struggling to think of any particular incidents of note other than the pop-up tent of a young Sunlighter pitch side blowing away in the wind, the Ramblers took it upon themselves to light up the fixture, allowing the Port to dance down the right hand side and cut the ball back to the unmarked centre forward poised on the edge of the box, who needed no second invitation as he calmly slotted it away in the bottom left corner. 1v1. Game on.
This appeared to spring both sides into life as the Ramblers suddenly had a bit of urgency. Martin and Shields continued to work well down either side, creating some good half chances, with Holt hitting a thunderbolt from 25 yards which flew into the side netting. Things were looking more positive but this was short lived. A long punt into the box in the swirling wind caused difficulty with Nelson unable to get a firm finger on ball as it dipped (a little surprising given the strength he usually demonstrates with his fingers in and around the metropolitan county of Liverpool at weekends), allowing the Sunlight striker to fire home from close range. Trying to regroup and maintain the unbeaten start to the season, the Ramblers pushed forward but were undone by a swift Sunlight counterattack. Picking up the ball in the right back position, a couple of quick passes forward had Sunlight in behind, and despite a strong palm from Nelson, the looping ball agonisingly drifted back toward the goal and in off the post to complete a second half turnaround.
A game of two halves, the Ramblers having the lion’s share of possession and the better of the chances. LRAFC 1 v 3 Port Sunlight.
We go again.
Up the Ramblers.
|October 28, 2017||2:30 pm||1st XI Fixtures||2017-18|
|Edge Hill University|
|St Helens Rd, Ormskirk L40 6JP, UK|