Maghull 2 - 1 Southport Trinity
Wednesday 21st August 2013 k/o 6.30pm
A lovely, warm evening greeted the players, amongst whom was Tom Foley,back in a Maghull shirt after his two season sabbatical at Bootle FC.
The early exchanges were pretty lame to be fair. Maghull with neat and tidy passing movements, the opposition using the more direct approach to the game, though not uneasy on the eye. But a sum total of bugger all seemed to be going on.
Eventually, Maghulls midfield began to impose themselves on the game and using plenty of width, stretched the visitors defence on a few occasions, only for that final ball, or cross, to be the faltering point. A similar scenario to previous games so far.
The Southport Trinity centre forward came into the game intent on making our defenders work for the night and he put in a hard, but in my opinion, pretty fair performance. He held the ball up well for the visitors who used the tactic of hitting him early and supporting him trying to pick up any scraps he could lay off. Normally ending with some wild attempts at goal. The unfortunate thing about this was, although the finishing was from distance and pretty woeful, the Trinity lads were allowed the time and space to get shots off. Food for thought maybe !
On the whole, cranky shots apart, Maghull pressed the visitors back and played the much better football. And a deserved lead was brought by Jay McGrane, who stole a yard on his defender and although fortunate that the keeper slipped when trying to advance, he kept his cool and placed the ball under the Trinity custodian and gave Maghull a much deserved lead.
Screams !!! (Sorry couldn't resist it) came from the Maghull side of the pitch when Tom Foley found himself in the clear, beating the keeper only to see the ball cleared off the line by a last ditch lunge by a defender. Handball was the call. From my vantage point, on the Southport bench side of the ground, I saw no offence. Nor did anyone else appeal (we were put to rights at half time by a disgruntled Director of Football) and the referees shout of play on, left the scoreline at 1-0 at the break.
A good crowd had attended and I am sure that the vast majority were expecting more of the midfield pressing forward and punishing the visitors with a hefty defeat. How wrong were we.
What we got, was a second half that was played mainly inside our own half. Whether a conscious decision or just taking the foot off the pedal, we do not know. What we do know is, Maghull dropped off by ten yards and allowed the visitors to come at them. Nothing much seemed to be happening, granted. And Mike Dixon had nothing at all to do. But it only takes a second to score a goal or even a fluke. And a fluke was what we got.
On the state of play, in the second half, the equaliser was deserved. Albeit given to them by a huge deflection, when Dixon had the initial shot covered.
Maghull perked up and gave the response that was needed. And it wasn't long before the lead was restored and once again it was Jay McGrane who found the back of the net after good work by Foley down the right.
We could settle back into home dominance and put some gloss on the scoreline. But what did we get...a confession from a King... he was injured and Steve had to be replaced, which gave some impetus to the visitors. They gave it there all in an attempt to get the scores level again, playing at times with just two at the back and brought about a very good save by Dixon, low down to his left.
Fortunately, this was as close as they came and Maghull did have a few late opportunities to finish the game off. But 2-1 it stayed.
Three points the important thing tonight, but will need to turn the level of performance of the first half tonight and the second half on Saturday, into 90 minutes. Some very impressive performances in those 45 minute spells and sure it is no coincidence that the improved form of a certain party has been an influence. But you know I do not single people out for praise here.
Big game Saturday...a huge 90 minutes please lads.
Next match : Cammell Lairds Reserves home 24th August 2013 k/o 3pm
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