LFC Under 21s 2 (Rossiter 37’, Ibe 42’ (p))-3 (Gregus 16’ (p), Clough 23’, Threlkeld 85’)   Bolton Under 21s

Goals from Jordan Rossiter and Jordon Ibe were not enough as 2nd placed Liverpool missed the chance to go top of the Under 21 Premier League with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of 17th placed Bolton, thanks to goals form Jay Gregus, Zak Clough and

Preview

In their last game of the calender year, Alex Inglethorpe’s Liverpool Under 21s took on Bolton Under 21s at the Kirkby Academy. Due to playing at Langtree Park and Anfield, this was only the Under 21s second game at the Academy, and in their other game they lost 4-3 to Southampton on the opening day of the season. Due to the FA Youth Cup starting this week, next Monday’s mini-derby has been put back to Monday 14th April 2014, the last game of the season due to many Under 21 players being eligible for the Youth Cup.

Inglethorpe made 4 changes from the side that comfortably beat Aston Villa 2-0 last week. Despite impressing on debut, Connor Randall is replaced by Martin Kelly, who will be looking to get back to full fitness. The next changes in defence sees Tiago Ilori and Aly Cissokho come in for Stephen Sama and Brad Smith, who drop to the bench. The final change sees Jordon Ibe replaced Michael Ngoo, who also drops to the bench.

First Half

Liverpool started the half brightly and almost took the lead in the 1st minute when Jordon Ibe beat Bolton fullback Robert Holding for pace but his left footed shot was deflected wide for a corner. But Bolton responded in the 7th minute as Tom Youngs’ 25 yard effort was superbly saved by Danny Ward, who had to be at his best to tip the ball over the bar.

5 minutes later, Yesil almost opened the scoring but his shot from a tight angle was well saved by Sutherland. Minutes later, Bolton were awarded a penalty as Jordan Lussey seemed to push Bolton winger Jay Gregus in the box and the Slovakian picked himself up and calmly slotted in past Danny Ward to give Bolton the lead.

Yesil was then booked for a silly challenge on Hayden White as he deliberately clipped the full backs heels after White beat Yesil for pace as Bolton still maintained the lead. Bolton doubled their lead in the 23rd minute as Gregus’ cross eventually found Conor Wilkinson, whose effort struck the post and Zak Clough was free in the six yard box to slot it into an empty net.

Liverpool were then looking to get a goal back and the closest they game to scoring was when Cameron Brannagan’s chip hit the outside of the post as Liverpool came ever so close to getting back into the game. Ibe continued to cause havoc and came close in the 37th minute but his shot across goal found no-one.

A minute, later Liverpool were back into the game as Aly Cissokho’s floated cross found Jordan Rossiter, whose header from 15 yards out looped over Sutherland who could only help it in as the Reds looked for an equaliser.

The Reds were then awarded a penalty when Jordon Ibe cut inside multiple defenders before being tripped in the penalty area. Ibe then picked himself up, took the ball off Yesil and slotted it past Sutherland to complete the comeback for Alex Inglethorpe’s Reds. In the 45th minute, Ibe’s cross went straight across the face of goal but Jordan Rossiter couldn’t connect and the ball was eventually cleared by Hayden White as a goal-packed first half ended Liverpool 2-2 Bolton.

Second Half

Alex Inglethorpe made his first change at half time as Martin Kelly came off for Brad Smith, who started the second half at right back. After a midfield dominated first 5 minutes of the half, the first chance fell to Lester, but the Bolton forwards shot was blocked by Lloyd Jones as it went over Danny Ward’s crossbar. Bolton then hit the post on the hour mark as Tom Youngs went past Tiago Ilori but his chip beat Danny Ward, but couldn’t beat the post as his effort bounced back into play.

The closest Liverpool came to scoring was when Joao Teixeira’s 20 yard effort was deflected just over Sutherland’s crossbar as both teams looked for that all important winner. Liverpool then made their 2nd change as Samed Yesil was replaced by Michael Ngoo in the 66th minute, to add strength to Liverpool’s attack. Moments later, Liverpool made their final change as Stephen Sama replaced Joao Teixeira. This meant that Sama shifted to right back, which allowed Brad Smith to play it the left wing role, where he can utilise his pace down the flanks. Bolton then made 2 changes as the game entered the final 15 minutes as first team players Mark Davies and Josh Vela were replaced as they both put in a good shift for the away side.

On the 80th minute mark, Liverpool has two good chances to win it. Firstly Jordan Rossiter connected to Aly Cissokho’s low cross but his shot was blocked and it fell to Brad Smith, whose effort was again blocked by the Bolton Wanderers defence. Ibe then had a free-kick turned down before Max Clough went up the other end an forced a smart save off Danny Ward, who could only parry it into the box but Lloyd Jones made sure it went out for a corner.

From the corner, Bolton got back their lead as Oscar Threlkeld rose highest to produce a powerful header that beat the helpless Danny Ward in the 85th minute, meaning the Reds had 5 minutes to salvage a point. Unfortunately for Alex Inglethorpe and his young Reds, they couldn’t find an equaliser as Liverpool suffered their 3rd defeat despite Stephen Sama hitting the crossbar in the 89th minute. The defeat is also a disappointing end to a great year for the Under 21s, who didn’t seize the opportunity to go top of the Under 21 Premier League.

Team Line-Ups

LFC XI: Ward; Kelly, Jones, Ilori, Cissokho; Rossiter, Lussey; Ibe, Brannagan, Teixeira; Yesil.

Bolton XI: Sutherland; White, Bolger, Holding, Threlkeld; Vela, Davies; Gregus, Clough, Youngs; Wilkinson.

Next Fixture

Liverpool Under 21s now take a month break after the postponement of the mini-derby and their next game will be at Kirkby Academy on Monday 13th January, when they face Blackburn Rovers, the game is live on LFCTV and will be a 2pm kick off.

Thanks for taking the time to read this new match report on my blog, and for more content on Liverpool’s Under 21s and Under 18s then simply keep an eye out on the blog http://www.thenextgenkopites.wordpress.com. Finally, for more Academy updates, then be sure to follow me on Twitter (@ScottTaylorUK).

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