Litherland Remyca 2-0 Irlam
North West Counties League Division One,
Litherland Sports Park, 28/2/15
By Gary Langley
Two great goals were the difference between the sides in a combative and technical battle at Litherland Sports Park on the clubs Community day. Both sides went into this game in good form in the game that they have managed to play in a weather disrupted season. Both sides still have designs on the divisional play-offs and both teams put out strong line-ups with both having players available following injuries and suspensions. The big call of the day was from Remyca who put leading scorer Louis Austin on the bench after he received an ankle knock in the previous game at Rochdale.
The game started at good pace but was Irlam who started much the livelier with early pressure on the Litherland defence, Christian Lawlor going close in the 4th minute after good play from Kyle Davies on the right saw the ball crossed low into the box and Lawlor received it, turned sharply and his shot went narrowly wide. Shortly after Davies himself went close as he engineered space in the box and a block from Chris Lowe took the pressure off the ball and Sean Lake between the sticks was able to collate the ball.
The rest of the half was a tactical battle, both teams playing the game largely 20 yards either side of the half way line, quite tough to watch at times with the pitch showing the strains of a long season. The only other chance of note in the half was on 39 minutes when Connor Naughton was played through the middle of the park, his pace saw him with room up front to shoot goalwards, however, Sean Lake who has been in good form all season was equal to it and made a decent save look easy. The half finished 0-0 and at the break it was difficult to say which way the game was going to go.
The second half was easier on the eye, both sides had raised the pace a notch, both keen to press forwards and both keen to keep the ball down. Litherland seemed to lack some pace going forwards but this changed just after the hour when Litherland Manager Phil Stafford took a calculated risk and brought on Louis Austin, his pace immediately standing out. The addition of Jamie Simms on 72 minutes for Josh Wright also had a positive effect.
Litherland had switched to four at the back and this seemd to give the wingers more freedom and on 75 minutes the breakthrough came, Remyca who had built up some possession in midfield saw the ball played purposely high at a steep angle, this caused pressure on the Irlam defence as two attackers and two defenders piled towards the ball, the ball took a high bounce which seemed to catch the Irlam Keeper’ Lee White out and he slipped slightly, before he could recover Louis Austin had won the race to the ball and lobbed the keeper splendidly and the ball bounced into an empty net as Austin ran towards the dugout to celebrate with the manager over his great decision to bring him on as an impact player.
The game wasn’t finished there, this despite the general feeling of the crowd prior to this was that one goal would separate the sides, Litherland went on to get a second with some style, Remyca burst down the left hand wing and a high cross was put in from the left, it looked like that this would be too high for anyone to get on to but Colin McDonald leaped like a Gazelle escaping the clutches of a tiger, turned in mid-air and hooked the ball beautifully into the top left hand corner of the goal, you could actually hear the crowd gasp as the ball went in. This made it 2-0 and that was the way the game finished in a busy week for Remyca. They face their re-arranged First Division Cup Quarter Final away at N.Flixton Villa on Wednesday night and their high profile home league match against league leaders Atherton Colls on Saturday.
Litherland Remyca: Sean Lake, David Flynn, Josh Wright, Stephen King, Dean Siadankey, Chris Lowe, Rob Madine, John Hastings, Colin McDonald, Phil Stancombe, Jamie Colbourn. Subs; Danny Graham, Jamie Simms, Louis Austin, Jamie Watkinson, Callum Webb.
Irlam: Lee White, Barry Lomas, Jacques, Kpohogmon, Ryan Longworth, Connor Braithwaite, Ryan Ledson, Jake Connolly, Connor Naughton, Christian Lawlor, Isaac Illidge, Kyle Davies. Subs; Gareth Mooney, Ben Christopher, Karl Cassell, Ryan Hutchinson