After the highly anticipated curtain raiser at Shrewsbury, the Ramblers were host to a youthful Liverpool Medics side for the first home game of the season. Hoping to utilise the momentum of a deserved 3-2 victory at Shrewsbury, only a few tweaks to the winning side were made. With Doherty alongside the likes of relic Mike Handley with the Vets in Pollença (it’s safe to say he found his level and more importantly his pace in the Balearics), he was unavailable for selection. Williamson and Bradshaw also unavailable; in came the trio of Shields, Martin and Kinsey.
The home side lined up as follows: Phipps in goal bearing the new candy white Goalkeeper kit, designed by world renown kit designer Nigel Power. A back three of Wise, Duffy and Blease, flanked by Howat and White playing relentless wingback roles. Two holding midfielders in Gendall and Whittingham, with Phillips just in front. Holt and Shields as the partnering strike force.
The Ramblers began with pace and purpose, playing out from the back but with fast link-up play to move the ball forward. The quality within the side was soon apparent with multiple chances being created in the final third, and it wasn’t long before there was a breakthrough. A throw-in that found Holt’s head was perfectly flicked into the path of Shields who controlled well and slotted across the keeper into the bottom left corner to make it 1-0.
Further opportunities arose with both White and Howat enjoying much of the ball on the wings, and delivering dangerous crosses into the box. Phillips, bunions blazing, enjoyed some pleasing link up play with good friend Holt, and one of their exchanges came close to providing Ramblers their second as Holt narrowly pulled wide of the target. Half way through the first half, changes were made – Holt off for Martin, Kinsey on for Howat. Arthritic Kinsey placed into midfield, Phillips shifted to left wingback. After more relentless work from White down the right, a threaded ball through to half-a-hamstring Martin was carefully finished near-post after sending the keeper the wrong way. 2-0 to the hosts.
With brilliant orchestration from the back three, Ramblers were steered to half time without any real threat of conceding. Any Liverpool Medics’ through-ball over the top was met by the storming man in white – Phipps – and the possession remained with Ramblers. Nonetheless, the half time talk was used to reiterate the importance of the next goal.
The Medics started the second half well, stretching the Ramblers midfield by shifting the ball from one side to the other. But the home side soon got their foot on the ball and began knocking it around once again with confidence. Blease dominated the left side of defence and carefully dispatched passes into playmaker Kinsey who would dance around a Medic midfielder before supplying Holt and Martin. But it was the solid support of Gendall and Whittingham which licensed Kinsey to attempt such footwork. Holt now on for Shields. Soon it was 3-0. Phillips, cutting in from the left, saw a run by Martin towards the near post and delivered an in-swinging cross into the strikers path. The ball was deftly left/missed by Martin, fooling the visiting keeper, and resulting in the ball finding the back of the net.
But Ramblers weren’t done yet. More changes saw Howat come back on to the left and Gendall make way, with moving Phillips back into midfield, and Shields coming back on for Tom Martin. The game became stretched as the Medics’ stamina proved no match for the well pre-seasoned legs of Moor Lane. Ed White once again having much joy down the right and managing to pull another cross to Shields lingering on the edge of the box, who controlled and volleyed inside the near post to secure his brace. Full time 4-0.
Definitely up there with one of the best performances the first XI has seen, and a thoroughly deserved victory and clean sheet. Just the one comfortable save from Phipps in the second half, really emphasises the level of performance from Wise, Duffy and Blease, along with the defensively minded anchors of Whittingham and Gendall assisting when needed. The next opponent on the fixture list is MGS away, and if Ramblers are hoping to make it three out of three, they’ll need to deliver a performance of the similar ilk.
|September 15, 2018||2:30 pm||1st XI Fixtures||2018-19|
|14 Moor Ln, Thornton, Liverpool L23 4TW, UK|