With Moor Lane wet underfoot and the Bagpuss campaign of “Save the pitches for Easter” well and truly underway, the powers that be within the club booked the very same pitch that Steven Gerrard had graced with the F2. Hoping to emulate Gerrard was a hardened group of 1s who had previously put the last 7 opponents to the sword.
Were Pinewoods set to be the 9th win on the spin for the Ramblers? A well-seasoned and cultured team came to put us under pressure under the guile of head coach Mark Wynne.
Without the youth and verve of the newly established Cheshire tarts it was left to the established 1s team to put the show together. Captain Holt, prepared with his A3 team sheet in hand and with sub Bradshaw en-route from a show home, selected a very unconventional 4-4-2 with O Handley the lynchpin on the left-hand side of the midfield diamond. Newton returned after a few weeks of absence to anchor the midfield after both Wise and Whittingham where both unavailable to play the “Dan Wise” role.
The game started with Ramblers composed and clinical passing, slicing their opponent apart. A brief flurry of Pinewoods pressure was mitigated before the first golden chance was created. Good distribution from Phipps to Newton in the middle, a calm turn in space and out to Egan at right-back who set White off down the wing. His cross (think mirror image of Andy Robertson to Salah) found Holt in the box who carefully placed his jumping volley into the bottom-left corner. Pinewoods started to rally but couldn’t deal with the gegenpress from the Ramblers midfield with Phillips showing great authority throughout the game to win the majority of headers against the 6ft+ midfield. Pressure on their defence told and Shields was put through to dispatch past the goalkeeper with ease.
The second goal enforced Pinewoods to make a tactical shift and they started to operate a 4-5-1 formation which posed more problems for the Ramblers team. A succession of corners put the goal at risk but Phipps was confident in sweeping up the flick ons and a composed performance from Ayton ensured that there was little danger posed down the left. Half-time 2-0.
Skipper Holt pushed Bradshaw out to the left-wing in the second half and the tempo of the game started to increase. An early dart from Newton meant utility O Handley was roaming around the middle of the park once again breaking up the opposition attacks to good effect. Duffy and Doherty were comfortable at the back and proceeded to pass the ball around with ease whilst limiting their attack to not a single shot on target in the whole game from open play. As part of the playing staff shift, Holt deployed himself in to the middle of the park and it was the captain that presented the rare opportunity of a sight of goal to Pinewoods. Closely marking a run from the number 9, on his receipt of the ball in the box, Holt with his nails recently sharped from a manicure decided it appropriate to touch his back. A scream and fall promptly followed and Jim pointed to the spot. VAR was not required.
On the back of this grievous decision the Ramblers where determined to make amends and ensure that the ninth successive victory was secured. The attacking intent had been present throughout the game but for a number of reasons the profligacy was higher than expected from a team that had totalled 37 in their previous games. Industrious work from Bradshaw eventually told and he had the tenacity to drive towards goal before rounding the keeper and slotting in on his famous right foot.
Overall a great performance with some football of the highest calibre from both teams but the Ramblers speed, accuracy and resolute defending kept the run going.
Up the Ramblers.
Liverpool Ramblers 1st XI: 3
Man of The Match: J Duffy
Goals: Holt / Shields / Bradshaw
Assists: Phillips x2 / White
|November 16, 2019||3:00 pm||1st XI Fixtures||2019-20|
|JMO Sports Park|
|62 Liverpool Rd, Skelmersdale WN8 8BJ, UK|