Maghull 1 - 2 Cammell Lairds Reserves
Saturday 14th March 2015 kick off 3pm
Controversy could reign supreme here, but I can only report on what I see and pass comment on what I hear. So don't shoot the messenger.
Shall we get the facts out of the way first ?
For the (I don't know, I have lost count) time this season, Maghull have walked off a pitch to comments of, that was our hardest game of the season. But it is a tough compliment to take, when your adversaries have taken the three points. For the second time this season, the sides challenging for the title have come to Old Hall Field, been given an utter pasting and snook off with a victory. And both games had a touch of home annoyance about them.
The first half was a demonstration of fine controlled football. Cammell Lairds were kept at arms length and the chances and pressure came from the home side. Some close efforts on goal, a clearance or two and the visitors were visibly rattled. Just that final ball, on occasions, and maybe a touch of composure in front of goal would surely have seen Maghull go into the interval with the lead. But even with a goalless 45 minutes gone, there was no reason to imagine what may be to come.
A solemn start to the second half got a wake up call after four minutes. A long punt up the wing from the Lairds right back, caught Maghull out. With the home defence split wide open, a cross came in, deceiving the keeper and was firmly headed home to completely change the context of the game. Was this deja vu from the South Liverpool game. Maybe not.
Within five minutes, the scores were level. A free kick a couple of yards outside the box was smashed by Mikey Cummins, the Lairds keeper could only parry it and saw his efforts in vain as he had only diverted the ball into the net and some sense came back to the scoreline.
Maghull, having recovered from going a goal down, began to dominate again. James Hooper took advantage of the throw in offside rule and looked to be brought down in the box. We appealed for the penalty, the referee did not flinch, but Maghulls players did not seem overly interested, so we accepted that no offence took place. Then an awful backpass threw the game into flux yet again.
Not sure if it was played blindly or just under hit, Could the keeper have anticipated, we will never know. What we do know is that the Lairds centre forward, who had played well, pounced on the error, rounded the keeper and slotted into an empty net. Time for Maghull to show their character and get another equaliser.
Their play deserved it but it didn't come. A glaring miss from three yards went over the bar, but at the time a furious Maghull bench and Cummins and Dillon were appealing for what they felt was a handball from the initial free kick, From my viewpoint, I saw the ball hit the wall, break loose and crossed before it was put over the bar. Those on the other side of the pitch said that a Lairds defender deliberately moved his arm to deflect the ball away, after a gap appeared in the wall. The referee claimed it was ball to hand, much to the grievance of the Maghull management and some players. But in reality, for those who played on, the scoring opportunity should have been taken.
Another penalty appeal came soon after, when Steel was clattered from behind in an aerial duel. These offences are penalised on numerous occasions outside of the box, in each and every game, but very rarely given as a foul inside the box. Maybe the rules differ when challenging inside the penalty area (yes I am jesting) but it seems to be a very common occurrence and no surprise at all when the referee waved play on. But who has put something into the Maghull players to tranquilize them in front of goal. This could easily have been a 5-2 or 6-2 scoreline, instead, the watching South Liverpool players went away nearly as miffed as ourselves, seeing their closest rivals get within a point of them at the top. But how many times do we have to reflect on a loss against the run of play !
Maybe we could get the boss on Goals on Sunday and have a rant about officials, to see if they can balance up the decisions. On second thought's maybe we could do that for next season. A little too late for us now. Is Lee Carrols escape against Newton our bit of luck for the season ?
Next game : West Kirby home league Saturday 21st April 2015 kick off 3pm
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