Sheffield made it back to back victories for the first time this season with a hard fought win over struggling Liverpool.
After a tough game against Derby, Sheffield got back on track with a fantastic performance at home to Kettering with a 5-1 victory and despite Liverpool’s start to the season they knew that a similar defensive effort would be required to come away with all three points.
The game started out evenly with both teams defending strong and looking at their most effective in transitions which led to a very end to end opening 10 minutes with neither side in total control.
It was Liverpool who struck the first blow just after 10 minutes of the game. Gaining possession inside their own half they ruthlessly broke on the counter and after a couple of passes across the court the unmarked Conor Kernohan found the top corner with a lovely finish that left Jordan Wildey no chance.
It was this goal that suddenly sparked Sheffield into life and not long later they were on level terms. Thomas Msadala started the play at the back slowing the game down before finding space for Sergiu Didici, unmarked down the left. He quickly combined with Danny Neath, the two of them found themselves free on goal with the goalkeeper as Liverpool’s defence parted ways. They combined well with one-twos in front of goal and Neath had the simple task of putting the ball into the net from a yard out.
It stayed this way until the break thanks to a couple of great goal line blocks, some good saves from both goalkeepers and a bit of good fortune as the posts were rattled on more than one occasion.
The second half started much more in Liverpool’s favour as they looked to try and regain their advantage. From the kick off they almost did so, with the ever lively Pedro Sevilha as he latched on to some sloppy play at the back from Sheffield. Wildey did well to force him wide and Msadala did even better to recover and clear the ball off the line.
After this scare it was Sheffield that suddenly took control of the game. Liverpool goalkeeper, Mackenzie Reed made a number of fine saves on his senior team debut to keep his team on level terms. Sheffield were made to pay for missed opportunities as Liverpool took the lead 5 minutes into the second half. A scramble around the area caused Sheffield a number of problems before the ball dropped to Alex Rovira-Wilde and he finished exquisitely squeezing the ball between both Adam Hollingsworth and Wildey’s legs.
A goal down after a number of missed chances, Sheffield showed their qualities again as within 5 minutes they had turned the game around with 2 quickfire goals to put them in front. First Santiago Fernandez scored a free kick from a distance he had no right to score from, a wonderful strike into the far right corner. Neath went on to grab his second of the game to give Sheffield the lead for the first time with 9 minutes to play, from a well worked Ferran Ruvira Peris corner.
Liverpool reacted in admirable fashion creating chance after chance and laying siege to the Sheffield goal but the Sheffield defence stood firm with Msadala in particular outstanding with numerous fantastic interceptions and blocks to keep Sheffield’s lead. However Liverpool kept coming and must’ve thought they had done enough to score as twice in the dying moments they had glorious opportunities but both times they were thwarted by Wildey.
Liverpool will feel their performance deserved at least a point but Sheffield stood up to the challenge well and showed true grit to dig deep and come away with all 3 points.