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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.
City of Liverpool v Pontefract Colleries
Saturday 19th Dec. 3PM KO
If you are showing symptoms of Covid or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive then don’t come the match. That’s just common sense.
In order for non-league football to be back playing regularly we have rules we have to adhere to concerning Covid-19. Capacity is limited to 400 and it is an ALL TICKET MATCH. If you haven’t bought a ticket online please don’t turn up as there is no cash turnstile and you will be refused entry. Tickets can be purchased via Skiddle and supporters are encouraged to buy their tickets as early as possible.
Unfortunately due to local Covid restrictions no away fans can attend so Pontefract fans please do not travel down as you will be refused entry.
Please be respectful of our volunteers who will be trying to ensure people stick to the guidelines. It is important for everyone’s health that these are adhered to, particularly as we don’t want to contribute to a rise in cases. and so we can all keep watching the Purps in as safe an environment as possible.
As at previous home fixtures, there will be a one way system in place around the ground, and temperature checking will take place at the turnstiles. It is compulsory for all supporters attending the match to adhere to social distancing and attendees must also wear a face mask.
There is no clubhouse/bar facilities for this fixture. Spectators are allowed to bring their own refreshments but please take all litter away with you.
It’s the responsibility of all visitors to the stadium to adhere to the guidance and follow the advice of our volunteers at all times, which is essential if we are to continue to host matches in front of supporters.
So the Purps FA Trophy run came to an end on Wednesday night with a 2-0 loss away at Darlington. Despite the 2 league difference, Michael Ellison team put in a phenomenal performance and created numerous chances on the night. They were probably a little bit unfortunate to go in 1-0 down at the break and it was only over the course of the 2nd half that Darlington quality and experience began to show. They rounded off the win with a second goal 15 minutes before the end then seen out the game.
Highlights of this game have been included in the match report on this website and can be viewed through Darlington YouTube page.
To reach the FA Trophy 2nd Round is an outstanding achievement by Michael Ellison squad. 3 away fixtures all at higher placed opposition and in all 3 games the team hasn’t looked out of place. They have given a good account of themselves and can be proud of their achievement.
Due to the second national lockdown and the postponement of the league season this will be the Purps 1st league fixture in almost 2 months. You have to cast your minds back to Saturday 24th October for our last league outing and a 4-2 away defeat to high flying Colne. One of the Purps goals that day was scored by Jaime McDonald in his last outing for the club before signing for Conference side Altrincham.
It will also only be the 2nd Home game that Michael Ellison has been in charge of due to Covid related disruptions, postponements and rearranging fixtures. We hope to see as many of you as possible down at the Berry Street Garage Stadium to cheer on the lads!
Despite the long journey I’m sure Pontefract are just greatful to have a game! Their last competition fixture was nearly 6 weeks ago on 3rd November, a 3-2 away victory against Pickering Town. They are currently 17th in the division having amassed 5 points from their opening 7 games (1W, 2D). I think their position in the league is somewhat deceptive and not a true indication of the quality of their squad as their opening fixture list has probably been the hardest in the league. They have had to face Runcorn Linnets, Colne, Markse and Ramsbottom with a game against Workington in the FA Trophy and FC United of Manchester in the FA Cup thrown in for good measure.
But as we have seen so far at this level there is no such thing as an easy game.
Despite being in the same league for 18 months this will be the first ever meeting between City of Liverpool and Pontefract Colleries.
For tickets please follow the link to the event page on Skiddle:
Darlington v City of Liverpool
FA Trophy 2nd Round
Wednesday 16th Dec. 8PM KO
Unfortunately due to Covid-19 restrictions this game is Behind Closed Doors. However we will have twitter updates via @Purpsmatchday. We will also go live at around 7:50PM and have full radio coverage via PurpsFM. To access that you can download the MIXLR app or via the MIXLR website and search “colfc”.
So here we go Purps! Arguably this is the biggest game in our clubs short but illustrious history. Bigger than cup finals, bigger than Chester in the FA Cup and bigger even than Irlam. That’s certainly my view and I will debate anyone who says otherwise!
City of Liverpool booked their place in the 2nd round on the back of an incredible away performance at Buxton and due to a last minute worldie from Jack Hazlehurst.
Jack had put the Purps ahead on 20 minutes rounding off a devastating 5 move pass that started at the edge of the Purps own 18 yard box and resulted in Mitch Bryant rounding the keeper to square unselfishly for Jack to side foot home.
Buxton grabbed a late equaliser from the lively Diego De Girolamo as the game edged toward extra time. But Jack Hazlehurst had other ideas. I’m not even going to try and describe just how incredible his goal was I’m just going to direct you to watch the video below. Jack Hazlehurst doing Jack Hazlehurst things.
The Purps have certainly not had an easy FA Trophy run so far. Drawn away twice to teams a league above in Atherton Colls and Buxton hasn’t detered them however. Michael Ellison has set his team up not just to frustrate and try and nick a result but to show we can compete at this level and showcase the strengths of this team.
Not bad considering all the distruption with Covid has limited him to just 6 games as manager.
Speaking just after the win at Buxton and before the draw Ello had this to say on any possible tie- “..whoever we get we will get after them.”
Darlington are currently playing 2 leagues above the Purps but he season so far for them has almost been a tale of two teams. Whilst they are languishing at the bottom of the National League North, their cup form this season is impeccable.
They reached the FA Cup Second Round for the first time in nearly 10 years. On the way they beat Prescot Cables, Tadcaster Albion and Cambridge City to progress to the First Round proper where they drew an away trip to League 1 side Swindon Town.
Not to be detered by the magnitude of the fixture The Quakers secured a famous 2-1 victory and were rewarded with another away trip this time at League 1 side Bristol Rovers. That was to be a step too far however as Bristol Rovers ultimately ran out 6-0 winners.
Whilst City of Liverpool have only existed as a club for 5 years our opponents have been around a tad longer. Darlington where first formed in 1883 and have existed for 137 years. A varied and rich history almost came to and end in 2012 as they entered administration and where almost liquidated.
The fans rallied round and took over the club despite the FA imposing an unprecedented relegation of 4 divisions, dropping Darlington from the Conference to the Northern League Division One. They have been fan owned ever since as they worked their way back up the leagues.
This is the first official meeting between Darlington and City of Liverpool.
Unfortunately this game is behind closed doors.
City of Liverpool FC progressed in the FA Trophy after a spirited and gutsy performance at Buxton was lit up by a last-minute wonder goal from Jack Hazlehurst to win the tie.
It was the Purps’ first fixture since the previous round where they demolished Atherton Collieries, owing to the second Coronavirus Lockdown restrictions.
Purps manager Michael Ellison used the downtime from matches to continue fine-tuning his squad, which saw Zac Aley, Morgan Homson-Smith and Connor McCarthy all sign for the club in the run up to the fixture.
Ellison opted to include Homson-Smith and Aley in the matchday squad, with both players taking a place amongst the substitutes. In the starting XI meanwhile, Mitch Bryant continued to lead the forward line alone after a very impressive debut in the previous round whilst Ethan Devine was rewarded with a starting berth in midfield alongside Nathan Burke after also shining against Atherton Collieries.
The fixture at Buxton’s Silverlands Stadium was unfortunately played behind closed doors due to Tier 3 Coronavirus rules preventing crowds.
The match started in a slow and cagey manner as both sides sought to feel their way into the game. The hosts did have the ball in the net in the opening exchanges although this was correctly called back for offside.
City of Liverpool were happy to absorb pressure as Buxton looked to build space out wide for marauding full backs Connor O’Grady and Warren Clarke to exploit. However, the visitors were more than equal to the challenge, with Kai Shorrock and Louis Corrigan impressing early on, and Jordan Barrow continuing a commanding partnership alongside skipper Jay McCarten.
The Purps had plenty of counter-attacking joy in the opening exchanges, with Mitch Bryant once again a physical and ever-present thorn in the side of the opposition defence. Buxton had former Leeds United, West Ham and Sunderland defender Matthew Kilgallon in their ranks, and Bryant looked more than comfortable as he held the ball up expertly for Hazlehurst, Rigby and Reid to join attacks.
The hosts were restricted largely to long range, with the Purps keeping them at arms-length, but did threaten from distance when James Hurst struck narrowly wide with a fierce right footed effort.
The Purps defence had to be on their toes to keep livewire forward Diego De Girolamo quiet, and keeper Theo Roberts was out quickly to claim the ball just ahead of the advancing former Italy youth international, after a lofted ball over the visitors’ backline almost left the goal exposed.
Moments later City of Liverpool took the lead as a devastating five pass move saw the visitors take full advantage on the counter-attack. Ethan Devine played a neat one-two with Nathan Burke before lofting a neat long pass for Hazlehurst to deftly play Mitch Bryant in down the right of the area. Bryant’s pace left Kilgallon trailing in his wake and he rounded the onrushing keeper Tommy Taylor before selflessly squaring for Hazlehurst to tap home from close range.
Just before the interval the hosts almost had an equaliser in fortuitous fashion as Chris Dawson’s right footed effort from the edge of the area took a huge deflection to wrong-foot Theo Roberts but cannoned back off the post and to safety.
HALF TIME: Buxton 0-1 City of Liverpool.
The hosts made a double change early in the second half with Brogan and Whitehouse entering the fray. It was clear in the opening exchanges that The Bucks were looking to overload in wide areas, with midfielders flooding the Purps box looking to be fed.
The second period started in strange fashion as a number of bizarre calls from referee Alexander Kelly incensed the Purps dugout and threatened to see him lose control of the match. Both Warren Clarke and Diego De Girolamo were unpunished for petulantly leaving the foot in on Purps keeper Theo Roberts, whilst the latter was allowed to constantly attempt to block the custodian kicking out of hand.
The theme of bizarre calls continued as Jay McCarten’s fine sliding challenge smashed the ball out off Reece Styche’s midriff only for the winger to come away with a corner, much to the consternation of the visitors.
The hosts continued to look for a way back into the game and almost had it when lively substitute Billy Whitehouse beat Corrigan with a mazey run down the right wing. The wide-man stood up an inch perfect ball for Reece King but Roberts produced a brilliant stop from point blank range to palm over the bar.
Moments later Diego De Girolamo should have received his marching orders for a dreadful challenge through the back of Nathan Burke which came after the referee had stopped play for a free kick. This again incensed the Purps dugout and sparked a melee which saw Jordan Barrow booked for explaining to the Buxton forward in no uncertain terms what he though of the tackle.
Astonishingly, Mr Kelly brandished a yellow card for De Girolamo which summed up the referee’s performance on the night.
Typically, De Girolamo took full advantage of his unexpected continuation on the pitch by grabbing a late equaliser for Buxton. The lively forward bundled the ball beyond Roberts and into the net as Reece Styche’s through ball initially looked to have evaded everyone.
Dom Reid should have had a penalty late on after being played in on goal, only to be cleaned out by goalkeeper Tommy Taylor. Predictably, the referee pointed for a corner whilst Reid lay prone on the deck in need of treatment. It was another astonishing decision which left everyone bemused
However, The Purps didn’t read the script and after defending manfully for the remainder of the game grabbed a late, late winner in glorious fashion.
Louis Corrigan’s long throw was flicked on acrobatically by Jack Hazlehurst looking for Stephen Rigby, Bucks defender Matthew Kilgallon only half cleared and Hazlehurst chested the ball up before volleying emphatically into the top corner, leaving Taylor with no chance.
The visitors held on to secure another memorable result against higher tier opposition and it was no more than the Purps deserved after such a spirited performance on the night.
The Purps progressed to the FA Trophy Second Round where they will play Darlington away on Wednesday 16th December. The match is expected to be behind closed doors at the time of writing.
FINAL SCORE: Buxton 1-2 City of Liverpool
City of Liverpool XI: Theo Roberts, Kai Shorrock (Tom Stephens ’77), Jay McCarten (c), Jordan Barrow, Louis Corrigan, Ethan Devine, Nathan Burke, Stephen Rigby, Dom Reid, Jack Hazlehurst (Jack Hinnigan ’90), Mitch Bryant (Zac Aley ’78)
Subs not used: Homson-Smith, McEllin
Man of the Match: Jordan Barrow was imperious in defence alongside the excellent Jay McCarten. Barrow’s exceptional performance saw him read the danger expertly and deal with everything Buxton threw at The Purps goal. From now on he will be referred to as Franco Barrowsi.
Manager’s Interview: We spoke to Michael Ellison at full time to get his thoughts on an fantastic evening’s work from the lads. (Click link to play)
City of Liverpool FC is pleased to announce the signing of Zac Aley.
The versatile midfielder was snapped up by then Premier League side Blackburn Rovers in 2010 after coming through the youth ranks at Southport and impressing in their First Team.
Whilst at Rovers, Aley featured in the Football League during loan spells with Morecambe and Macclesfield Town respectively. He has also represented Southport, Warrington Town, Ashton Town, Northwich Victoria and Runcorn Linnets.
During his time at Linnets, Zac worked with Purps manager Michael Ellison, who is delighted to link up with the midfielder again, “Zac is a really good addition to the squad, he’s got a great left foot on him and can play in a number of positions.
“He’s a great lad in and around the dressing room and I’m looking forward to working with him again at The Purps”.
Welcome to the club, Zac.
City of Liverpool FC are pleased to announce the signing of forward Morgan Smith from FC United of Manchester.
The talented 22 year old spent last season on loan at Broadhurst Park from National League North side Southport, and has previously represented AFC Fylde and Harrogate Town.
Smith played 9 games during his loan spell with FC United, scoring 3 goals, before the season was brought to an end by the pandemic. The highly-rated youngster then opted to join The Reds permanently in the summer and has featured in 10 games this season.
A former Morecambe scholar, Morgan is a left-footed attacking player who is comfortable playing wide right or across the forward positions.
Manager Michael Ellison is delighted to welcome a player of Smith’s calibre to the club, “Morgan is a great addition to the squad, he’s a real technician with an eye for goal and he’s a young ambitious lad with a point to prove.”
“I’m delighted he chose the Purps to showcase his talent”.
Welcome to the club, Morgan.
City of Liverpool FC are delighted to announce the signing of Connor McCarthy.
The highly rated attacker brings a wealth of experience from higher up the football pyramid, having represented Southport, FC United of Manchester, Telford and Warrington Town.
Known for his attributes as an industrious team player, Connor has all the qualities to become a fan favourite at his new club.
McCarthy starred against the Purps last season when representing Runcorn Linnets, firstly bagging a brace in a pulsating August bank holiday fixture at Millbank Linnets Stadium, where the hosts came out on top.
Connor also impressed against us in the reverse fixture, with an all-action man of the match display as Linnets came away with the three points in our New Year’s Day clash too.
The forward is reunited with manager Michael Ellison after overcoming an injury which brought last season’s campaign to a premature end.
Ellison is delighted to work with McCarthy again, “Connor is a great signing for us, he’s a top player and will certainly strengthen the squad, he’s chomping at the bit to get playing again and I’m delighted to have him on board”
Welcome to the club, Connor.
City of Liverpool progressed to the 1st Round of the FA Trophy after a resounding 3-0 over Atherton Collieries on a bitterly cold evening at Skuna Park.
The fixture was initially scheduled for Saturday but put back to midweek with the agreement of the hosts, following a number of positive COVID tests in the Purps ranks.
Michael Ellison had a somewhat depleted squad to pick from but was bolstered by a number of new signings making their debuts in the fixture.
Starts were handed to goalkeeper Theo Roberts who joined from National League side Curzon Ashton, Jack Hinnigan made his first start at centre back after joining from Runcorn Linnets, and forward Mitch Bryant donned the #9 shirt after signing from Bury AFC.
The Purps started brightly, hunting in packs to deny the hosts space whilst a midfield fulcrum of Nathan Burke and Ethan Devine allowed Dom Reid, Rhain Hellawell and Jack Hazlehurst license to attack and support lone striker Mitch Bryant.
The hosts had the first half chance of the match as Dylan Glass found space in the Purps box, but the forward’s off-balance effort was watched wide by Theo Roberts.
At the other end the lively Bryant and Dom Reid had half chances to test Colls keeper Danny Taberner but fired wide.
It was Michael Ellison’s side who drew first blood however, as a delicate ball over the top from Rhain Hellawell left the hosts defence in all kinds of trouble.
Dom Reid stole in off the left to volley right footed beyond Danny Taberner to put the visitors in front with only 7 minutes on the clock.
The hosts almost equalised against the run of play soon after as Danny Lafferty rose highest to meet Vinny Bailey’s corner but the Atherton skipper’s header flew over Theo Roberts’ crossbar.
The visitors appeared to have a firm grip on the game with Jordan Barrow and Hinnigan at the back answering every question asked of them by the Colls forwards in the opening exchanges, whilst the hosts had Lafferty and Rick Smith struggling to cope with the physical presence and pace of Mitch Bryant.
The Purps deservedly extended their lead in bizarre fashion after 31 minutes as Jack Hazlehurst capitalised on a defensive and goalkeeping calamity to volley home from 30 yards.
A mix up at the back saw the hosts gift the Purple Messi possession as keeper Taberner was left marooned off his line offering his defenders an option going back to their own goal.
Hazlehurst made no mistake, coolly lobbing the ball into the empty net.
On the stroke of half time the hosts had a chance to test Roberts with a free kick in a dangerous position. Gareth Peet curled majestically over the wall but the debutant Purps keeper made a great stop, holding the ball down low as Marcus Cusani lurked for any spillages.
HALF TIME: Atherton Collieries 0-2 City of Liverpool
The Purps came out well after the interval, continuing to press high out of possession as the hosts struggled to build any clear sights of goal. The fledgling partnership of Jordan Barrow and Jack Hinnigan looked impenetrable, reducing Colls to long balls and crosses from deep which were meat and drink for the dominant Purps centre backs.
The visitors put the result beyond all doubt after 51 minutes as a glorious cross-field ball from Ethan Devine released Dom Reid out wide.
The winger’s drilled cross picked out Hazlehurst in the Colls area who pirouetted on the ball before firing a low effort which Taberner did well to push out. Mitch Bryant reacted first to the save, drilling the loose ball home for a debut tap-in from 6 yards.
It was no more than the former Manchester United and Reading youth prospect deserved on a promising first outing in City of Liverpool colours.
Atherton made a number of attacking changes as they looked the get a route back into the game but the Purps, who were 50-1 with some bookmakers before the game, looked good value for their lead.
In the closing stages lively substitute Jordan Darr threatened from close range but his powerful effort appeared to be blocked on the line by a team mate.
Needless to say, the Purps held out for a deserved victory over higher-tier opponents and will face Buxton away in the next round, whenever football resumes.
FINAL SCORE: Atherton Collieries 0-3 City of Liverpool.
City of Liverpool: Roberts, Rigby, Barrow, Hinnigan, Corrigan, Burke, Devine, Reid, Hellawell, Hazlehurst (McEllin), Bryant (Gray).
Subs not used: Cartwright, Reed (GK)
Man of the Match: Jack Hinnigan was imperious at the back on his debut, dealing with everything both in the air and on the deck in a composed and mature performance. His partnership with Jordan Barrow gave his side a firm foundation at the back, and he just edges out the excellent Mitch Bryant.
We caught up with Michael Ellison after the game and he gave us his thoughts on an excellent performance from his side.
Matchday Photo Gallery:
Atherton Colls v City of Liverpool
FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round
Wednesday 4th November. 19:45 KO
Atherton is located within Greater Mancher and they are currently in Tier 3 Lockdown just as we are in the Liverpool City Region.
Unfortunately Purps supporters are not permitted to travel to this fixture because Government, F.A and Local Authority guidance states that travelling in/out of Tier 3 is not allowed without a valid reason.
Travelling to watch football is not a valid reason, and so the club will only have essential staff in attendance at the match.
Our club Media Team will be providing a range of ways in which you can keep up to date on events at The Skuna Stadium.
After the match we’ll try and grab a quick word with manager Michael Ellison to get his thoughts on the game, along with match action videos from MOTJ and matchday photo gallery, all of which will be within the match report.
As I’m sure your all aware a National Lockdown goes into effect from Thursday till 2nd December however there is just time for the Purps to visit Atherton Colls in the FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round. This fixture was postponed a few days due to 2 members of club staff completing isolation and we thank Atherton for their understanding and assistance in moving the tie.
Last time out for the Purps was the trip to an in-form Colne. It would be the toughest game of Michael Ellison reign so far not just for the quality of the opponents but the conditions too. It absolutely lashed it down for 90 mins straight on a pitch with an incline that could be described as Moel Famau-esque (especially as the ground become more boggy as the game went on).
Colne took a 1-0 lead into half time and it became an uphill battle for the Purps, quite literally, as they were playing up Snowden in the 2nd half. The conditions actually helped the Purps get a deserved equaliser. An underhit back pass held up on the edge of the box allowing Jay McDonald to nip in, compose himself and bend a lovely right footed effort past the keeper and into the far corner.
It was to be a short lived parity as Colne took control of the game, scoring 3 times in 15 minutes. In truth the Purps contributed to their downfall with some individual mistakes that Colne seemed to punish everytime. Colne then had the luxury of bringing on ex-pro Ryan Taylor to sit in front of the back four to see the game out for the last 15 minutes. The Purps pulled one back in injury time as Nathan Burke slotted a penalty after the lively Rhain Hellawell was felled in the box. A 4-2 defeat in the end.
Atherton play one league above City of Liverpool in the Northern Premier Division. They currently sit in 9th place after taking 13 points from their opening 8 games and have just 1 loss in their last 5 games.
Its not the first time these two sides have met, with the sides having played out a pulsating 3-3 draw in the NWCFL Champions Cup final during the Simon Burton era.
The Purps came from two goals down to level at 2-2 courtesy of quick-fire second half goals from Jamie McDonald and Joe Camozzi, before falling behind again rom the penalty spot.
The Purps had already had Mike Smith sent off, when Assistant Manager Tom Spearritt, making a rare playing appearance, made a miraculous point blank save to deny the hosts a certain goal. The only problem was that Tom was playing centre back at the time and then also received his marching orders! The hosts scored from the spot to edge ahead again.
Miraculously, Karl Noon scored in injury time to equalise for the never-say-die nine men of City of Liverpool, taking the match into an extra thirty minutes.
The Purps looked the more likely winner of the two sides in extra time, with John McGrath going closest, but the game went to penalties. Goalkeeper Stephen Longrigg was once again the hero in a shoot-out, as the underdogs triumphed 4-3 to lift the cup.
Last time out in the Trophy the Purps were awarded the tie after Cleethorpes Town pulled out and we progressed to the next round. It is now our best ever cup run in the Trophy and should we progress we will be rewarded with an away tie against Buxton in the 1st round proper.
29/07/17 Atherton Colls 3-3 COLFC
(COLFC won 4-3 pens)
Unfortunately due to local Covid-19 restrictions no Purps fans who live within the Liverpool City Region are allowed to attend.
City of Liverpool have completed the signing of striker Mitch Bryant from Bury AFC.
The forward started his career with Manchester United’s Academy before joining Reading and has represented a number of clubs in the Non League pyramid.
Notably, he once had a loan spell at Basingstoke Town in the Conference South where he achieved the enviable feat of scoring a double hat trick against Weymouth!
Bryant spent last season at Colwyn Bay where he was a popular and prolific figure for the Seagulls, scoring 14 goals and providing 12 assists during the 2019-20 campaign, and joined phoenix club Bury AFC in the summer.
Mitch is a familiar face to Purps manager Michael Ellison, having played for his Runcorn Linnets side in the 2018-19 Northern Premier League season.
Ellison is pleased to sign Bryant again, “Mitch will be a great addition to the squad.”
“He’s a top lad on and off the pitch and I’m really looking forward to working with him again”
Welcome to the club, Mitch.