Litherland Remyca 1-4 Eccleshall
Wednesday 25th March 2015, Litherland Sports Park
North West Counties League Division One
Two sides who have improved greatly over the course of the season met at Litherland Sports Park for an enchanting encounter which saw Litherland rue a number of missed chances early on and saw their play-off chances pretty much ended in a heavy home defeat.
A late equaliser for the opposition in their previous game away at Ashton Town had seen heads drop but hopes were high of clinging on to feint play-off ambitions prior to this game, Manager, Phil Stafford put new signing from Bootle, Steven Williams straight into the starting XI.
As the game got under way Litherland seemed up for the challenge and made early moves forwards, their first attack nearly paid dividends when the ball was played forwards, Daniel Duffy took the ball to the by-line and cut the ball back to the edge of the six-yard box, Eccleshall defender Nate Dyer stuck a foot out to try and clear the ball which just missed the post and went narrowly wide. Litherland continued to apply pressure and pressed forwards at every opportunity, they went close again on 21 minutes, Connor Murphy received the ball on the edge of the box, he turned and rounded the keeper, played the ball across the six yard box with an empty net beckoning but as Colin McDonald homed in on goal an Eccleshall defender challenged just at the right moment to get in just ahead of the attacker and managed to get the ball away before the ball could be struck goal-wards.
On 26 minutes Remyca went close again when Jamie Colbourn crossed for Louis Austin who seemed to be playing a deeper role than normal, his shot went just wide. Shortly afterwards a speculative ball from midfield again found Litherland going close when John Hastings was through with just the keeper’ to beat but he also could not find the goal. It seemed that Litherland could not have scored even if the opposition was blindfolded, their goal was leading a charmed life but that luck ended on 37 minutes when another sortie forwards saw the ball cut in from the right flank and Dean Siadankey hooked his foot around the ball and the momentum saw the ball hit the back of the net to a collective sigh of relief from team and supporter alike.
As the half time interval arrived Litherland were good value for their lead, however their one goal advantage could have easily been four or five. Their missed chances would come back to haunt them in the second period.
As the game recommenced two very different sides emerged from the dressing rooms, Litherland looked static at times and incoherent whilst Eccleshall were sharp and buzzing around the park. Litherland were trying to create but the Eccleshall were playing a high defensive line and pressing at every opportunity, thus giving Remyca little opportunity to create anything. On 65 minutes Eccleshall got the equaliser their second half play had deserved, a fortunate deflection off a defensive Litherland clearance that looked suspiciously like a handball saw Adam Jones cut through the defenders and fire a shot that rattled the cross bar, as the ball went back into play it fell to Josh Crofts who still had work to do, he took a step to the right and unleashed a direct and powerful shot past Sean Lake to score.
Remyca were still in the game at this point, a few minutes after the equaliser they went close to scoring when a free kick from Louis Austin on the left hand side saw the ball float to Dean Siadankey at the back post, his shot hit the side netting but it was a good opportunity. Ecccleshall had momentum behind them and they wasted no time in putting the game to the sword over the next 20 minutes with a clinical display. On 74 minutes they pressed forwards again and played a ball dissecting the Litherland defence, Ryan Greene chased the ball down well, Sean Lake tried to come out to clear the danger, however the pace of Greene was key and he promptly rounded the keeper’ and slotted the ball into an empty net to give the visitors the lead. On 82 minutes came the goal of the game and it actually came from a slip up by Craig Hoyland, the tall striker was trying to work the ball across the final third of the pitch but due to the lie of the land the ball bobbled and caught under Hoyland’s feet thus flicking the ball up, the ball dropped sweetly for Peter Aidley fully 25 yards out who’s volley flew into the top right hand corner giving Sean Lake no chance.
The Litherland teams day was done at this point, heads were down and Eccleshall looked like they could score every time they went forwards. It was with little surprise that they scored a fourth goal on 89 minutes when on yet another attacking move forwards Peter Aidley was brought down in the box by substitute Karl Siadankey. Craig Hoyland whom had been industrious for most of the game stepped forwards to take the spot kick and he struck it to the keepers right hand side giving him no chance and the visitors their fourth goal of the game.
It was a tough day at the office for Litherland, conspiracy theories in the crowd ranged from hangovers from the last gasp equaliser in the previous games to anticipation of the clubs First Division Cup semi-final this coming Saturday, however, they were just beaten by a team that took their chances on the night. Litherland now have to re-group ahead of the away trip to Atherton Colls for the semi-final, depending on which view you hold, being motivated for that may not be a problem!
Litherland Remyca: Sean Lake, Daniel Duffy, Jamie Simms, Stephen King, Dean Siadankey, Jamie Colbourn, Connor Murphy, John Hastings, Colin McDonald ©, Steven Williams, Louis Austin. Subs; Chris Lowe, Callum Webb, Lewis Jones, Karl Siadankey, Darren Carr.
Eccleshall: Brandon McEleny, Nick Abson, Nathan Dyer, Jack McKay, Daniel Counter, Adam Jones, Josh Crfts, Peter Aidley, Craig Hoyland, Ryan Greene ©, Angelo Errico. Subs; Joe Page, Ryan Broadhead, James Smith, Ryan Brice, Kevin Page