Southport Hesketh 1 - 2 Maghull
Liverpool County FA Challenge Cup
Saturday 19th September 2015 kick off 2pm
Sorry, I couldn't resist !
As cup ties go, this one will not go down in the annals of classic ties. It may sneak in under the category of glad that one is over. Sometimes I am a little more critical of games than others, but the general consensus around me was let's hope this doesn't go to extra time.
The first half was dreadful and that is being nice. Maghull did have a couple of chances, but they were missed badly and it summed up the malaise that seemed to be going on on the pitch. No player goes out with any intention of not bothering, but due to the dullness of the game, that was the impression given. I have seen more gusto in a testimonial. The first half did perk up when a Vulcan bomber flew over from the local airshow. It gave us something interesting to look at.
The second half didn't exactly liven up either. Southport gained the upper hand in the early stages, but created absolutely nothing. To be fair, neither keeper had anything to do. Maghull had a cracking chance to break the tedium, but the clear header went wide of the mark again. Then out of nothing, Liam Vogel, who had been booked moments earlier, backtracked (sensibly I thought at the time) as a Southport player pushed forward midway through the half and then struck a speculative effort. Lee Carrol, maybe not expecting the strike from distance seemed caught out, but made a cracking right handed save pushing the ball up onto the bar and the bounce came out the right side of the line for Maghull. Southport appealed for a goal, but the shouts came mainly from the sidelines and as Carrol collected the ball in his hands, I do not recall a mass of players surrounding the referee for his decision . From my standpoint, it looked a good save and nobody seemed to think we got away with one, just praise of a good save. But it did become a turning point.
Maghull made a couple of changes, the strangest being Vogel pushed into centre midfield alongside Danny Dylan. With both players having been booked and Dylan having had a running duel with the referee during the game, it seemed only a matter of time for one of them to be shown a second yellow. Luckily, Southports version of Diego Costa did not have the wherewithal or presence to get either player sent off. Though the referee, for all his finicky moments and his chats with Maghull players, did have the common sense to just speak to Dylan and his counterpart after a verbal eruption took place and clever intervening by Tom Foley.
The changes along with the shock of nearly going a goal behind stirred Maghull. Fresh legs and more impetus should have seen them take the lead before they did. On three occasions they should have gone ahead, but poor finishing and an unlucky touch saved the hosts. But what should have been the winner arrived from an unexpected source ten minutes from time. A corner from the left seemed to cause no danger, but the hosts panicked. A foot stuck out and the ball crept into the net courtesy of an own goal. At last something to cheer and no extra time.
Unfortunately, while dragging this dour affair to its end, with less than two minutes to go Maghull left one of its old boys to lob a ball into a dangerous area at the near post, Carrol punched away only to see the ball arrive perfectly on the head of a Southport player 16 yards out and his header looped into the empty net. I am not sure whether the groans were more for the equaliser or the fact we would have to endure another half hour of this. Fortunately, we were all saved from the dreaded extra time, when Sam Wilkie collected the ball and moved across the pitch some twenty yards out before placing a very clever shot past the flatfooted keeper and finishing the game off once and for all. On chances alone, nobody can grumble with the result. It should have been a far bigger win, but getting to the next round was all that mattered. And on the plus side, after that awful start to the season, six games unbeaten and scoring at least twice per game is definitely moving in the right direction. Even if they waste so many clear cut chances.
Next game : Chester Nomads away Saturday 26th September 2015 kick off 3pm (to be confirmed)
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