MAINE ROAD 3, CAMMELL LAIRD 1907 2
Perhaps it ought to be no surprise that Maine Road’s dramatic victory against Cammell Laird 1907 should be a blockbuster.
The two clashes between the teams last season in North West Counties League, first division south produced a total of 13 goals.
And this meeting of the Corinthians – the footballers play for the love of the game as these are two of the few teams which don’t pay – was no less exciting.
It certainly proved cheer for the 135 fans who were treated to an entertaining spectacle on the most miserable of nights. Could this really be July?
Road looked to be home and dry when they established a three-goal lead inside an hour as they seemed to be in cruise control.
But the Birkenhead visitors scored twice in quick succession to set up an enthralling finish in which the home side was hanging on to their slender advantage.
Road were ahead in the 14th minute when visiting goalkeeper Ciaran O’Loughlin failed to hold Nathan Oseni’s free kick and Yousif Yousif was first to react as he forced home the loose ball.
Home keeper Ryan Livesey made a couple of excellent stops to deny Jay Harvey and Jack Lloyd as they held on to their one-goal advantage at the break.
O’Loughlin made a smart stop to turn Abid Addow’s effort around the post for a corner, but it was only the briefest of reprieves as from the resulting kick centre half and captain Ryan Eiselt powered home an unstoppable header.
Two quickly became three when the delightful passing move – Maine Road’s social media described it as 10 seconds of Barcelona – ended with Addow sweeping home a low shot which squirmed through the grasp of O’Loughlin in the wet and greasy conditions.
Laird, to be fair, never conceded defeat and were rewarded with a goal 12 minutes from time when substitute James Eaton found the net from the tightest of angles. Livesey will not have been happy, though, to be beaten at his near post.
Road nerves were jangling when Laird soon added a second when Matthew Beaman found the net with a bullet near-post header from Eaton’s corner.
That set up a grandstand last eight minutes of normal time and an addition 11 of added – the new edict to referees saw a total of 16 extra minutes played in this match – as Road survived several scares as ball flew across the goalmouth with no visiting player able to apply the finishing touch.
The win makes it four points from six for Road who last season finished mid-table while Laird, who were only one place above the relegation spots, have started with two one-goal defeats.
It will probably be another challenging season for them, but they display the fight, spirit and resolve which will be needed if they are to stay clear of trouble.