By Scott Taylor
Adam Phillips scored twice as Liveprool Under-18s signed off their Under-18s Premier League season with all three points at Brockhall. Ovie Ejaria and Sam Hart were the Reds’ other scorers as they stopped a run of three consecutive defeats. Scott Wharton and Sam Joel grabbed two late goals for Rovers, but Neil Critchley’s side held on for all three points.
Liverpool’s opening goal game when the ball was cut back from the wing and there was Phillips to finish high into the net to give the Reds the lead on the stroke of half-time. Three goals in 15 minutes followed for the visitors, as they went 4-0 ahead on the hour mark.
Firstly, midfielder Phillips, who spent pre-season with the first team in America, had a half-volley that curled into the bottom corner of the net in emphatic style to double Liverpool’s advantage.
Wade Maxwell continued his recent run of good form by claiming another assist. His cross was met by former Arsenal midfielder Ovie Ejaria who made no mistake in the penalty area. Sam Hart burst into the box moments later, rounded the Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper and slotted home to all but put the game to bed.
However, in the 75th minute, the hosts pulled a goal back. Ramirez Howarth’s short corner was played to Stuart Callaway. The midfielder’s cross into the box was won by second-half substitute Wharton, who rose highest and head beyond Andy Firth.
Just five minutes later, Blackburn scored another goal. Wharton was again involved. He intercepted a loose pass in the Liverpool half to find Sam Joel, who finished past Firth as a nervous ten minutes was on the cards for Liverpool.
Critchley’s side held on as they finished seventh in the Northern League. After the game he told Liverpool’s official site that he was satisfied with the performance of his young chargers, despite conceding late goals.
He said: “We were excellent for 65 minutes. We dominated the game and scored some very good goals. We tired a little bit for the last 25 minutes and conceded two soft goals.
“We didn’t see the game out the way we would have liked to, but the performance for most of the match was very, very good. There were lots of positives to take from that.”
Liverpool will now face seven games against teams from the Southern Division in the play-offs before now and the end of the season.
Liverpool XI: Firth; Whelan (Polgar), Brewitt, Masterton; Hart, Ejaria, Chirivella (Travis); Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Lewis; Maxwell (Nicholas).
Blackburn XI: Fisher; Pirretas, Askew, Grayson (Mols 60′), Platt; Maglore (Wharton 60′), Callaway, Tomlinson, Howarth; Joel, Wall (Mehew 80′).