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Darlington 2-0 City of Liverpool
FA Trophy 2nd Round
City of Liverpool exited the FA Trophy last night despite a spirited performance away at Conference North side Darlington. Michael Ellison kept faith with the same lineup that started in the previous round at Buxton- a 4-2-3-1 formation when the Purps went forward which could change to a 4-5-1 when out of possession.
The Purps started on the front foot and created a couple of good early chances. Mitch Bryant snapshot was straight at Darlington keeper Melvin Minter and Dom Reid deflected effort from the edge of the area inches past the post.
Darlington took the lead on 12 minutes. A loose ball falling to Luke Charman 25 yards out, he took a touch then lashed a shot over Theo Roberts into the top corner. It was a lovely strike from the Quakers striker.
It didnt rattle the Purps who stuck to their game plan and had the better chances. Jack Hazlehurst wriggled free to fire an effort from 25 yards was straight at Minter. Kai Shorrock, who had been dealing expertly with the threat of Erico Sousa on the left, created the Purps best chance. A lung busting overlap run, he was slid in behind from Rigbys through ball, Kai burst into box and fired a cross right across the 6 yard box that was just begging to be turned home. Dom Reid threw himself at it and was millimetres from connecting. Fine margins that could prove to be the difference.
Darlington stand out chance after their opening goal was a 25 yard free kick from McMahon that Theo Roberts had to turn over the bar one-handed as it curled toward the top corner.
HALF TIME: Darlington 1-0 COLFC
As even as the 1st half was the 2nd half in truth was all Darlington. They pressed high up the pitch disrupting City of Liverpool patient buildup play and forcing the Purps to look for long balls into Bryant. As well as Bryant led the line he was up against two ex-pro centre halves, one of which who had played nearly 150 games for Sam Allardyce at Bolton. Between the two of them they began to deal with the threat, one going man-to-man in Bryant whilst the other was aware for the 2nd ball.
Darlington where creating chances with the lively Sousa just denied a tap in at the back post by Kai Shorrock timely intervention. 15 minutes of sustained pressure and Ello adapted the shape to better cope with the threat. Jack Hinnighan coming on at centre back as the Purps reverted to a 5-3-2, pushing Dom Reid up alongside Bryant in attack as the Purps tried to find an equaliser. Rivers was in behind 1 on 1 and instead of shooting, squared a pass to Sousa who looked sure to score but Hinnighan was back on the line to keep the Purps in the game.
The Purps had their own effort cleared off the line. A Jack Hazlehurst corner right into the mixer took a deflection off a Darlington player but Sousa was back on the line to hack the ball clear.
It was to be Sousa who wrapped up the victory for Darlington. Breaking away into the box, cutting back past McCarten and firing low past Theo Roberts.
FINAL SCORE: Darlington 2-0 COLFC
City of Liverpool XI: Theo Roberts, Kai Shorrock, Jay McCarten (c), Jordan Barrow (Tom Stephens ’77), Louis Corrigan (Jack Hinnegan ’59), Ethan Devine, Nathan Burke, Stephen Rigby (Zach Aley ’72), Dom Reid, Jack Hazlehurst, Mitchell Bryant
Subs not used: McEllin
Man of the Match: Kai Shorrock. The young right back was given a real test by tricky winger Erico Sousa but he more than held his own. Not content with just defending he was a real outlet down the right looking to get forward at every opportunity and create chances.