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City of Liverpool FC produced a professional performance to overcome a spirited display from Liverpool Football College’s talented U19’s team.
The fixture was the first the club has hosted at the new Purple Hub complex and was a good workout for Craig Robinson’s team in our third pre-season outing.
The u19’s started well and showed glimpses of their promise early on with #10 firing over from range after Stephen Rigby had headed a deep cross clear.
It didn’t take the Purps first team long to take the lead, however.
Former College graduate John McGrath played a delightful ball over the backline and Craig Cairns took it around the keeper with a magnificent first tough before tapping into the empty net.
It was a fine goal from the returning goal-machine Cairns, evoking comparisons with a Luis Suarez strike against Newcastle in 2013.
The U19s continued to look lively and were confident in possession. College forward Tyler Magee raced clear after some good build up play but was denied by fine defending from Anthony Brown who nicked the ball off his toe as he attempted to get a shot away.
The first team doubled their advantage courtesy of another poacher’s finish from marksman Cairns.
Jamie McDonald slid in for a loose ball with the College goalkeeper, with the ball breaking loose after a fortuitous deflected clearance for Cairns to tap into the unguarded net to make it 2-0.
The U19’s hit back minutes later and scored a fine goal to get back in the game.
The Purps half cleared but the ball broke to Tyler Magee who hit a first time effort from 25 yards which curled beyond Owen Wheeler and into the back of the net.
It was a brilliant opportunistic finish from Magee and no more than he deserved following an impressive performance on the night.
The U19s resurgence was short lived however as moments later, Jamie McDonald pick pocketed possession from a defender in their own box, before squaring to give Craig Cairns the easiest of finishes to complete his hat trick.
It was yet another example of Cairns’ goalscoring qualities on his first start since returning from Runcorn Town, as if anyone needed a reminder.
The Purps siege on goal continued with John McGrath denied by a fine goal line clearance after slaloming past a couple of defenders.
Ethan Devine also smashed the bar from range in a frenetic end to the half.
On the stroke of half time, the Purps finally got their fourth as Dom Reid hammered into the net from the left-hand side of the area after good work from Jamie McDonald.
The Purps made a number of changes at the interval and sub keeper Andy Marshall was called into action early on, doing well to hold a fizzing long range effort from the U19s.
New signing Jordan Barrow, playing the second period in midfield, threatened from long range with a daisy cutter but it was well held by the U19s keeper under pressure from Nevitt following in.
The keeper did well again moments later, as a whipped ball in from TRIALIST was met by the head of Hazlehurst, but the College custodian was more than equal to it.
Barrow again threatened from close range but was again thwarted by a magnificent stop as the goalkeeper spread himself to make the block and prevent a certain goal.
The 5th goal did come soon after, however.
In-form forward Elliott Nevitt beat the offside trap on the right hand side of the area before hammering a powerful effort beyond the outstretched left hand of the keeper to grab his third goal of pre-season.
Both Nevitt and TRIALIST threatened to add to the Purps tally late on but were denied by committed blocks from the U19 defenders.
In truth it was a convincing win for the first team, but the U19s gave a good showing of their undoubted talents against superior and more experienced opponents.
Particularly, Tyler Magee who scored a fine goal and Derrick Amankwah in midfield who put in an assured and composed performance which belied his years.
We wish the U19s squad and staff the very best for the season ahead.
COLFC First Half XI: Wheeler, Kinsella, Jeffries, Brown, Rigby, Reid, Devine, Hynes, McGrath, McDonald, Cairns
COLFC Second Half XI: Marshall, Yates, Hynes, Stevens, Corrigan, TRIALIST, McEllin (TRIALIST), TRIALIST, Barrow, Hazlehurst, Nevitt