MATCH REPORT: Purps 4-1 Colls

City of Liverpool’s first home game for two months saw fans treated to a four-goal rout of Pontefract Collieries, as Michael Ellison’s side returned to league action post-lockdown 2.0.

Fresh from a spirited display in a narrow defeat away to National League side Darlington in the FA Trophy, the Purps manager welcomed two more new faces to the matchday squad, with Kieran Nolan and Ben Wynne starting on the bench.

Recent signing Zac Aley started at left back in place of Louis Corrigan, Tom Stephens replaced in-form youngster Kai Shorrock at right back, whilst veteran forward Tony Gray also returned to the starting XI.

The Purps started well against a struggling Pontefract Collieries side, with the hosts looking to utilise the delivery of Zac Aley from wide positions in the opening exchanges. Indeed, the hosts could have taken the lead early on as Aley whipped in a delicious delivery from deep but forward Mitch Bryant’s close-range volley was well saved by Colls custodian Mikey Emery.

The visitors almost took the lead against the run of play when right back Fabian Bailey advanced into the Purps half and hammered a thunderous right footed effort off Theo Roberts’ crossbar from fully 30 yards out.

It wasn’t long before the Purps took the lead however, as full back Tom Stephens released Hazlehurst in behind with a delightful through ball. The Purple Messi had acres of space to exploit and dinked a sumptuous finish over the advancing Emery, much to the delight of the home faithful.

 

 

The hosts were relentless out of possession, harrying Colls off the ball and not giving Andy Monkhouse’s side any time to think. A second goal was inevitable and came when Stephen Rigby won back possession and released Mitch Bryant expertly down the right-hand channel.

The Purps #9 intelligently held up play until support arrived in the form of Rigby, and the midfielder who started the move finished it with a fierce left footed effort which nutmegged Emery in front of the Dodge Kop.

 

 

Ellison’s side was purring and four minutes later had the icing on the cake when Rigby turned provider, releasing Tony Gray with a lovely left footed through-ball as the Colls offside trap failed. The former Southport forward fired a composed right footed strike beyond Emery into the net for his first City of Liverpool goal.

 

 

As the half closed out, Theo Roberts had to be on his toes to expertly tip another 30 yard effort from Bailey around the post, preserving a half time scoreline which fully reflected the home side’s dominance.

HALF TIME: City of Liverpool 3-0 Pontefract Collieries.

The hosts made a change at the break with Ollie Murch replacing Albert Ibrahimi, and saw much more possession in the opening exchanges of the second period. Michael Ellison’s Purps were happy to wait for the counter-attack, with the visitors kept at arms-length by a defensive unit well marshalled by skipper Jay McCarten and Jack Hinnigan.

Much of Colls most dangerous play came through tricky winger Nathan Modeste, and the pacey #7 could have pulled back a goal only for Theo Roberts to make a fine save low down. Moments later Damian Reeves threatened from range, but his powerful effort drifted narrowly over the crossbar.

The Purps recent run in the FA Trophy coincided with the arrival of powerful forward Mitch Bryant, who impressed at both Atherton Collieries and Buxton. The former Manchester United scholar was a constant thorn in the Colls side here again and grabbed a deserved goal on 61 minutes as the Purps found success via route one.

Theo Roberts free kick was expertly glanced on by Tony Gray to release Bryant beyond the last man. The forward surged into the Colls box and hammered a right footed effort low beyond Emery to extinguish any Colls hopes of a comeback.

 

 

Credit to the visitors, they continued to press forward and looked to make an impression on the game, despite the scoreline. Andy Monkhouse introduced teenage scholar Charlie Clegg and the youngster did not look out of his depth, showing some neat touches and composure on the ball.

Purps keeper Roberts was again on his toes to produce a smart stop to deny Dan Keane after good work from Jack Lazenby.

Lazenby grabbed a fine consolation goal for the visitors late on, firing a long-range past Roberts after a fortuitous free kick was awarded for a challenge where McCarten looked to have taken all of the ball and none of the man. Lazenby stood over the ball with a View to a Kill, and made no mistake with the free kick showing Colls might be shaken, but stirred.

The Purps ran out deserved winners at the final whistle, notching a scoreline which fully reflected the performance from each of Michael Ellison’s boys.

FINAL SCORE: City of Liverpool 4-1 Pontefract Collieries.

City of Liverpool: Theo Roberts, Zac Aley, Jack Hinnigan, Jay McCarten (c), Tom Stephens, Ethan Devine, Stephen Rigby, Dom Reid, Mitch Bryant, Jack Hazlehurst (Kieran Nolan 67), Tony Gray (Homson-Smith 76).

Man of the Match: Mitch Bryant put in a sterling performance which was the focal point of everything the Purps did well throughout a dominant display. Bryant grabbed a deserved goal to cap off the scoring, carrying on from an excellent start to his City of Liverpool career.