COLFC Community started 2019 in fine fashion on Sunday 17th February as the #FootballForEveryone side beat Mersey Marauders in a closely fought encounter played out at Archbishop Beck. The Purples had the better of the opening exchanges, spraying the ball around nicely, with a midfield trio of Amar, Mez and Junior playing some lovely one-touch football.
The lads could have taken the lead early on, as a well defended corner lead to a quick counter attack from the Purps, eventually resulting in Amar being clean through on goal. However, the little magician uncharacteristically delayed getting his shot away, and eventually fired wide under pressure. Moments later, a late tackle on the edge of the Marauders area gave the Purps a decent sight of goal. Junior stepped up to fire the free kick from 25 yards but was denied by a brilliant diving save from the Marauders keeper, clawing it out of the top corner.
Mersey were spurred on by a number of Purps missed chances, and took the lead with their only real attempt on goal in the first half. A long ball forward caused confusion at the back, and the home centre-forward bulldozed his way through to fire low past the dive of Chris Davies in goal. The lead didn’t last long at all though, as pretty much from the kick off the Purps rallied and immediately restored parity. Some lovely link up play in midfield saw Maher released into space, with his pace exposing the Marauders backline. The lively forward confidently cut inside, delayed his shot and fired low past the keeper on his COLFC Community debut.
The Purps felt slightly aggrieved to only be level at the break, but in the second half there was only really one side looking likely to get the winner. COLFC Community came flying out of the traps after the interval with Hassan Al-Asadi looking lively in the home side’s box, linking up well with Maher up top. Only a couple of very well timed challenges from the Marauders prevented the Purps from threatening the home side’s goalkeeper early in the second half.
Maher was a constant thorn in the side of the Mersey defence, who struggled to cope with his direct running and quick feet, and it wasn’t long before he was back on the scoresheet again. The forward beat a defender on the right of the area before dinking the ball beyond the keeper from a tight angle, much to the delight of his team mates.
COLFC Community had further chances to extend the lead, with substitute Mustapha doing very well on the wing after coming on in the second half, almost scoring himself, and then setting up Dave Heal who couldn’t quite get the ball out of his feet with the goal at his mercy. The Purps also withstood a number of Mersey corners in the second half with keeper Davies and big Khalid at centre-half confidently controlling the COLFC area each time the ball came in.
Overall, it was a deserved result for COLFC Community despite ruing a number of missed chances during the match. As always it was an enjoyable occasion to play against our friends at Mersey Marauders who are a really good group of lads and played very well on the day. The Purps man of the match was awarded to midfield maestro Mez, who controlled the middle of the park all afternoon (just ahead of match-winner Maher who had a fantastic debut). A special shout out goes to Carlos at left back also making his debut – probably the most attacking full back we’ve ever had and particularly fond of repeatedly nutmegging his opposite full-back during the game!
COLFC Community: Chris Davies (GK), Albashir Omar (c), Khalid Hussain Hamid, Mark Howard, Carlos, Mez, Amar Ahmed, Junior, Mo Ali, Adam Thornley, Maher.
Substitutes: Hasan Al-Asadi, Mo Alnour, Dave Heal, Ali, Mustapha.