I bet you weren’t expecting to see another post on here so quickly, but here we are! A groundhopper can never just go to one game on a weekend city break though can they…?
After an exhilarating time at Prenton Park on Saturday, it was time to turn our attention to the much more serene landscape of non-league football, for an FA Vase first round tie between AFC Liverpool and Newton Aycliffe.
Attending this game was not planned a long time in advance, to be honest it only really became a possibility on Saturday after checking the Futbology app and seeing such a tasty tick in the offing!
I’d never really known much about AFC Liverpool, but as a club they actually have a thoroughly interesting story. The club started in 2008, and was conceived due to a group Liverpool fans’ disapproval at fans being priced out of the modern game (a topic no less relevant 13 years later).
Hence their full name being ‘Affordable FC Liverpool’!
This is a movement I’m sure a lot of Groundhoppers can get behind, so I was really excited to go and explore this enigmatic little club based in Crosby.
Another little quirk of this tick is that AFC Liverpool ground share with Marine, who had a famous FA Cup run in 20/21, which led to them hosting Tottenham in the third round earlier this year.
It was really cool to see the remnants of this FA cup run, including the FA Cup back drop for interviews and some big name sponsors around the ground…
Anyway, we were here for a game of football, not a museum tour, and so our attention quickly switched to the matter at hand, the first round of the FA Vase!
So after our nice walk through Crosby, a pre match Sausage Roll and a quick rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone through the tannoy, it was time for kick off in a game where no one knew what may happen.
But soon after the first whistle we had an indication… Newton Aycliffe started much stronger than their hosts, they looked sharper, stronger and fitter. It took just four minutes for them to find the games first goal, after some neat work gave them an opening, right on the six yard box, and Sonni Coleman duly slotted the ball home.
Newton looked good for their lead, and continued looking the better of the two sides in the opening exchanges, they could have added to their lead were it not for some impressive goalkeeping matched with some wastefulness in front of goal.
AFC Liverpool took a while to really get into the game, but after a couple of sighters, they started to attack with a lot more fluidity. But they were denied an equaliser a couple of times by Newton’s keeper Adam Pickford, who made some excellent saves to keep his side ahead, but Liverpool finally converted one of their chances soon after…
After more impressive forward play from the hosts, the ball made it’s way into the box to Kyle Schorah (aptly named!), who finished with the outside of his right foot wonderfully, it needed something special to beat Pickford, and that was just what was produced!
I must say, the first half an hour was a really exhilarating watch, both sides looked impressive and the game was wide open, after 30 minutes you really couldn’t pick a winner.
We made it to half time at 1-1, and it was all to play for, roll on the second 45!
Just two minutes into the second half, the game saw its decisive goal, and it was Schorah again, with another wonderful finish. The forward received the ball on the half turn and he quickly jinked his way into a shooting position, he then proceeded to rifle his shot in at the near post, even Pickford who was in fine form had absolutely no hope with that one.
Kyle and Callum Schorah were really the two stand out players on the pitch on Sunday, they linked up really well and everything good that the home side did came through them. Unfortunately for Kyle, his afternoon was brought to a premature end as he went off with an injury, meaning he was unable to complete his hat trick, unlike someone else who plays in red on Sunday…
He was followed to the dressing room soon after by his teammate Paul Speed, but this time it was because the midfielder was given his marching orders by the referee after two cautions. To be honest I’m not sure what the first one was for, maybe dissent? But the second was clear cut as he kicked the ball away in frustration at a decision, and he was off!
After this, the game really intensified as Newton Aycliffe began to press forward looking for a route back into the cup tie, while AFC Liverpool had almost given up trying to score (probably wise as Pickford had continued his astonishing form in the second half with more sublime saves).
Once again this game entered a fascinating period, where the ten men of the hosts fought for their lives to keep out their opposition, and they did just that as the referee blew for full time at 2-1, much to the relief of the home side and fans!
Newton had given their all to get a precious goal, but they simply couldn’t, but it definitely wasn’t for a lack of trying…
It was a deserved win for the home side, who certainly created more clear cut chances, and were it not for the wall of Pickford in the Newton net, the game may have been done by the 60 minute mark.
Liverpool’s ‘little brother‘ as they wish to be referred to as, had done themselves proud, and it was actually a thoroughly pleasant experience watching them compete. It was a good game on the field and a very friendly experience off it, and I’m sure their fans would have been even more friendly two hours later after Liverpool demolished Man United 5-0 at Old Trafford, what a day for all the reds!
My mum also wanted me to mention that the ladies toilets at Rossett Park are the nicest she’s ever been in at football, with flowers in there and everything… I’m not sure the toilets matter to a lot of my groundhopping followers m, but hey ho!
Anyway, that was all for my full on football weekend up in Liverpool, it was great to see the city and experience a couple more interesting clubs, let’s hope to see AFC Liverpool at Wembly in May for the Vase final, if we do, I’ll be there.
Thanks for reading A Groundhoppers Guide again, we are well on our way to 100 grounds now!
Catch you soon….
- GROUND: Rossett Park
- GAME: AFC Liverpool 2-1 Newton Aycliffe
- COMPETITION: FA Vase
- GROUND NUMBER: 93
- WOULD I GO BACK: One Day!
- TICKET PRICE: £5
- DAYS SINCE LAST 0-0: 978