It's a good long while since I did a reserve report. Due to the games being moved away from The Racecourse in Wrexham and due to personal changes, I haven't made it to a game in ages. But tonight's game was rearranged to be played in North Wales again, and I wasn't going to miss the chance to go.
Some things haven't changed. The horrible pies are still a rip off and the weather is still Baltic. I swear that main stand there, it never gets above freezing even in the height of summer. On the other hand some things have changed. When I was last watching the reserves we were struggling at the foot of the table and looking to the likes of Robbie Foy and Raymond Calliste for inspiration. Fast forward two seasons and we are playing our first game since being crowned champions.
As I am too tight to pay for Setanta this was my first look at a few players. I'd obviously seen the likes of Plessis playing for the first team, and Huth, Spearing, Flynn and Derby have been knocking around the youth or reserve team long enough for me to have seen quite a bit of them, but I was really looking forward to a look at Bruna, Pacheco and Nemeth.
It really was a game of two halves tonight. From the first whistle Liverpool controlled the first half and City created nothing of note. It was quite early when Liverpool took the lead. Nemeth who was already looking very classy and assured played a delightful ball around the corner freeing Flynn down the right wing. He crossed low and Brouwer managed to get on the end of it and poke Liverpool ahead.
Bruna at just 16 looks a bit lightweight at this level, but he does seem good on the ball. He got a chance to chow his ability just after the half hour mark when he took a free kick from at least 30 yards out. City has Isaksson who has played for the Swedish national team in goal, but he looked beaten by Bruna's curler, but unfortunately it crept over the bar.
A couple of minutes later Liverpool doubled their advantage and again Brouwer was the scorer. The creativity was against supplied by Nemeth who sent Brouwer racing through one on one with a brilliant back heel. It was perfectly controlled and not just a lucky attempt. Brouwer made no mistake as he slotted home with ease.
Adam Clayton did have an effort for Cit y from long range, but that was about as close as City came in the first half. In fact, it could have been worse for City. With ten minutes to play until half time Curtis Obeng should have been taking an early bath. He dived in on Bruna and it was only the young Spaniard's quick reactions that stopped him from getting seriously hurt. The challenge was miles away from the ball and Obeng was extremely lucky to only see yellow.
Nemeth continued to impress with some sublime touches and some lovely dribbling. He did really well just before the break but couldn't quite find Brouwer to complete his hatrick.
The second half was a different story. City closed us down much more qucikly and we struggled to find space. Brouwer who had been a real goal threat and had linked up well in the first half couldn't find a red shirt and was rarely a threat at all. He was involved in one of the only dangerous moves Liverpool put together in the second half as he combined with Spreaing and Insua to set up Nemeth who fired over.
With City coming increasingly into the game Ashley Grimes began to make his mark. He stole himself a yard in Liverpool's box with a great touch, but couldn't make his shot count as it was blocked for a corner. Breen rose above the Liverpool, defence when the corner was whipped in, but again he failed to trouble Gulacsi in goal.
Pacheco came on with about 25 minutes left and looked tidy. He plays a lot deeper than I though he was going to, and I found his style reminiscent of Zola.
City had brought on the rather rotund Valeri Bojinov now and he was looking lively, if a bit porky. In this case, I think it's no coincidence that his first name rhymes with Calorie. He was involved in the 80th minute however when City pulled one back. It was a straight ball through the middle by Adam Clayton that neither centre half managed to deal with. Bojinov went for the ball, and it snook past Gulacsi. It was the first goal Liverpool had conceeded in the league in 900 minutes of football.
Adam Crowther came on for Spearing in the 82nd minute. It was an ill fated substitution. After a lively start by Crowther he fell awkwardly on the left wing and left the pitch on a stretcher. I hope it's not too serious, but it didn't look good.
Despite Liverpool now playing with ten men, it was they who came closest to scoring. Bruna and Pacheco linked up down the right wing and Pacheco delivered a cross which the impressive Ryan Flynn did brilliantly to get to. Unfortunately the header didn't live up to the build up as it glanced away harmlessly.
I was impressed overall. There have been huge improvements at this level.
MOM, Nemeth. He looked a class above anything else on the pitch.
The Reds reserves continued on their winning streak with a win over Manchester City at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground. The game was switched away from Warrington due to the pitch quality needing repairs at Warrington.
City got the game underway on a nice night but it was the Reds who were first out of the blocks. After just three minutes Jay Spearing blasted a shot over the bar.
The Reds continued to look good going forward although City did look to play some neat football as well.
The Reds had a good chance on eleven minutes as San Jose strode out with the ball from a corner but wasted the opportunity when his ball wide for Nemeth was too long.
Just a minute later though the Reds did take the lead and it was a really well worked goal. Nemeth sent Flynn racing down the right wing and the Reds midfielder played a superb ball in for Brouwer who clipped the ball in to the far corner of the goal.
With the way the Reds have played this season even at 1-0 you had thoughts that the points were already grabbed. Grimes was booked on twenty one minutes when he brought Huth down. The player acknowledged straight away that he had fouled his man and had no complaints at the card that followed.
Krisztian Nemeth had a great chance to double the lead on twenty five minutes when he turned Breen inside the box but after creating the chance he blasted his shot over the bar when he should've at least worked the keeper.
The Reds did double the lead on the half hour when a great move was finished off by Brouwer. Flynn and Nemeth linked up superbly with the Hungarian back heeling the ball to Brouwer running in to the box and he finished with ease.
It was now looking like the Reds could win this with much comfort. City rarely troubled Gulacsi in the Reds' goal. They did have one shot over the bar on thirty four minutes but Gulacsi's first save didn't come until the second minute of stoppage time. Even then it was a very routine save for the Hungarian keeper.
In between the Reds had a couple of chances with Nemeth nearly setting Brouwer up for his hat-trick on thirty eight minutes but the ball was just favourable for the keeper and the chance went begging.
The Reds sent Martin Kelly on for the second half in place of Captain Stephen Darby. Jay Spearing took the captains band as a result.
The second half saw City get far more in to the game and in fairness they deserved their goal for their efforts if nothing else. That said they never massively worked the keeper much as San Jose and Huth continued to work well as a partnership.
On fifty four minutes there were chances at both ends. Nemeth was played in by Brouwer but he scooped his shot past the far top corner. City went up the other end and Grimes turned well in the box but his shot was deflected wide for a corner.
The Reds sent on Dani Pacheco on sixty four minutes in place of Nemeth. A few minutes later and the Reds nearly scored from a corner but City managed to save on the line.
City made a switch on sixty eight minutes when Bojinov came on. He nearly had an instant impact when he shot a few yards wide with his first touch.
City finally got their goal on seventy six minutes and it was a bit of a calamity really. Clayton scored the goal from about forty yards. Ultimately though it was a cross in to the box for Bojinov. Gulacsi came out to get the ball but seemed more bothered about getting hurt by the incoming Bulgarian striker and the ball just sailed past both players and ended up in the net. I'm yet to be convinced about Gulacsi to be honest in all the games I've seen him in.
A couple of minutes after the goal the Reds sent on Ryan Crowther in place of Spearing. Ryan Flynn now got the captaincy for the rest of the game. Sadly Crowther wasn't to last the game. On eighty three minutes Crowther went on a run which resulted in a throw in but as he tried to stop his run he seemed to go down over his own feet and stayed down. The game was able to continue with Crowther being off the pitch but it looked serious. Crowther was eventually strapped up and stretchered off.
With the clock ticking the Reds were forced to finish with ten men having used all their subs. If anything the best of the final chances fell to the Reds. With two minutes remaining the Reds somehow missed a great opportunity off a corner. The keeper missed the ball and San Jose headed up in the air. When it finally fell down Flynn somehow shot over the bar from about two yards out.
Flynn was again the culprit in injury time for missing a great chance but he was their to miss it. Pacheco and Bruna linked down the right before Bruna sent a cross in for Flynn to head. Somehow he headed wide of the far post when it looked easier to burst the net.
MotM : Ryan Flynn - worked hard all night and was heavily involved in both goals.