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There was to be no giant killing on Tuesday night as City of Liverpool went down to a 3-0 home defeat against Morpeth Town in the FA Cup.
Craig Robinson rung the changes both in personnel and tactically against the Step 3 side with first starts of the season for Tom Stephens and Louis Corrigan at right and left back. There was also a first start for Tony Gray up front and Jack Hazlehurst was also given his first start of the campaign after 2 goals in 2 games from the bench.
Tactically the Purps looked at playing a 4-4-2 but with Jamie McDonald working his proverbials off to track back and make it a midfield 5 at times.
Morpeth started the game aggressively and in the first 5 minutes were lucky not to have a few players on yellow cards. Nathan Burke stamped on after only 30 seconds in midfield followed by a late challenge on Stephen Rigby, the referee deeming both only worthy of a telling off and no more.
The game plan was working for City of Liverpool who reduced Morpeth to very few chances of note. A quick slipped through ball found Andrew Johnson who had got the wrong side of Tom Stephens in the channel but his tame effort was straight at Wheeler. Shortly after Liam Noble also teed up Jack Foalle but he dragged his effort well wide of Wheelers post.
On 34 minutes it was Morpeth who took the lead. A long diagonal ball from left to right looking for Jack Foalle making a run in behind. McCarten climbed to try and deal with it but only succeeded in flicking it beyond left back Louis Corrigan and into Foalle feet. Wheeler who had come to close the gap was also undone by the inadvertent flick and was now stranded. Foalle saw him stranded and just lifted the ball over him.
HT: City of Liverpool 0-1 Morpeth Town
The Purps game plan however changed dramatically on 50 minutes as Tom Stephens was sent off for a late challenge in front of the dug outs. From my angle it seemed reckless and he has caught the Morpeth midfielder with studs up on the shin. The referee brandished a red card straight away.
On 56 minutes it looked as though the referee had reduced Morpeth to 10 men also. Stephen Foster with a late challenge that the referee immediately flashed a red card for only to sheepishly realise he had pulled the wrong colour out in his haste and reversed it to a yellow. That did not go down well with the home crowd.
Morpeth immediately began making the extra man advantage pay off and looked to pass the Purps into submission. Ben Sayer in central midfield controlling the tempo of play and forcing City of Liverpool midfielders to work hard closing down and trying to launch counter attacks through Tony Gray.
With the Purps just needing an equaliser to take the game to penalties, Craig Robinson brought on Nevitt and Cairns on 74 minutes to try and fashion some chances. Morpeth however got their second just after the double substitution on 76 minutes. Jack Foalle being released in the box and making no mistake slipping it underneath the on coming Owen Wheeler, effectively sealing the win for Morpeth.
The Purps however went straight down the over end and should have got one back straight away. Elliot Nevitt put through 1 on 1 but his lifted effort was just over the bar.
Morpeth settled the game on 84 minutes as striker Liam Henderson struck left footed across Wheeler and into the far corner.
FT: City of Liverpool 0-3 Morpeth Town
COLFC: Wheeler, Stephens, Corrigan, Burke, Barrow, McCarten, Kinsella (Cairns 74), Rigby, Gray (Nevitt 74), McDonald (Devine 60), Hazlehurst.
Purps MOTM: Jack Hazlehurst – Spent the night putting in the hard yards closing down and was always looking to get on the ball to try and make things happen going forward.