16th September 2018 v LFC Vets
This is normally a big fixture and the boys would have to be strong today. As things turned out, the organisation by our hosts was poor with the fixture being changed a few days before the game and it would now be played at the Liverpool County FA ground instead of at the Academy in Kirkby. The show pitches are really good but alas we were to play on the Liverpool Schoolboys second pitch which is a quarter of a mile from the dressing rooms and we were informed there would be no presentations nor refreshments after the game. To be fair to the Liverpool lads, they have lost funding, lost players and by all accounts, the higher echelon of the LFC Foundation seem to have lost interest in them so thanks to those that did turn up to play.
No matter, says I, a game is a game and an almost totally different side to the previous day were to take to the field. Only Stewart and Rooney started on both days with the latter taking over the Captain’s armband for the day. A great pre-match team talk from Matt Beattie stressing that it doesn’t matter about the facilities, it doesn’t matter where a game is played, that it’s about having a job to do and going out there and doing it certainly gee’d the lads up and they set off for the pitch in good spirits.
LFC to kick off. Nip and tuck to start but after 8 minutes the RAF get their first chance when a great turn and strike from inside the box sees Schofield’s shot hit the post and roll across the box. Stockport followed up but from a tight angle he couldn’t find the net. In the 15th minute a storming run by Wanless sees him barge through the Liverpool defence but as the keeper advanced and Wanless tried to slot home, the keeper managed to get a leg on it and it’s a corner to the RAF. From the corner, a little flick on at the near post and there was Schofield at the far post to smash it right footed into the back of the net. 1-0 RAF
With 20 minutes on the clock, Schofield struck his and the RAFs second goal when the ball found it’s way through to him and he struck it first time past a despairing keeper. 2-0 RAF
LFC finally got an attempt at goal in the 25th minute but it was a shot from 25 yards and it was wide. No trouble for Algar in the RAF goal. The boys in blue responded superbly with a sublime move involving Stewart, Stockport, Schofield and the Wanless but the finish was not quite there. Another opportunity arose for LFC but a brilliant tackle, in the box, by McCormick saved any RAF blushes. Stockport had a chance quickly followed by another for Schofield but again, they were high or wide of target. The high line of the RAF midfield was causing problems for LFC especially the goalkeeper whose kicking was not the strongest and it kept landing at the RAF players feet and putting the Reds on the back foot time after time. It could only be a matter of time before this pressure told. The kicks were not even clearing half way inside his own half and Rooney got on the end of one striking a great shot that the keeper did well to scramble aside for another RAF corner. Another chance for Schofield went begging before Algar caught whatever the LFC keeper had and presented the ball to the LFC attacker from a goal kick. Luckily he was forced wide and his shot went straight out for a goal kick. This time the kick was much better!! With 32 minutes on the clock, a good interchange of passing saw the ball finally ending up with Schofield. He went round the keeper and although he had gone quite wide, he managed to wrap his foot round the ball and steer it into the back of the net. 3-0 RAF and a hatrick for Schofield.
More chances came and went with the majority to the RAF but as the half time whistle went this was a solid performance by the RAF lads but too many chances were being missed and too many opportunities were being given to the opposition. HT 3-0 RAF
Following a reiteration of the “job to do” speech from before the game by Matt, the lads were tasked with going out for the second half and burying the opposition. Only time would tell if they listened.
Almost straight from the kick off the RAF attack down the right side and win a throw. Schofield takes it quickly and centre back Bartley waltzes past two defenders and the goalkeeper to slot into an empty net. I think they listened. 4-0 RAF
Apart from a goal for Liverpool that was given offside (it was by miles) it was all RAF now. In the 67th minute, good work by Arscott on the left saw his pass find Wanless and he cut back inside and smashed the ball left footed into the net. 5-0 RAF
Things stepped up a gear in the 68th minute!! Liverpool scored after a break down the right and as the ball came into the middle the attacker drew the keeper and slotted home 5-1 RAF
That only spurred on the RAF because things went ballistic from the 70th minute. A free kick to the RAF saw Bartley dink a ball over the wall straight onto the head of Schofield who powered it past the keeper. 6-1 RAF
Schofield got his fifth after dribbling his way into the box. He looked to pass it but was surrounded by red defenders and his pass struck one of them on the legs and bounced back to Schofield who was now on the floor. He picked himself up quickly and smashed it past the keeper again 7-1 RAF in the 74th minute.
Schofield had time to miss another before good work and passing between Wanless and Schofield saw the ball end up with Arscott. He turned his man and struck home. 8-1 RAF 78th minute
Centre back Danny Bartley, who had already scored one, showed everyone how a storming centre forward should take his goals by charging through the LFC defence before drawing the keeper and side footing past him to make it 9-1 RAF in the 79th minute
Stockport, who had worked tirelessly up front, then finally got his name on the scoresheet. A nice build up through the midfield then saw him through on goal and he calmly passed the ball beyond the keeper into the net. 10-1 RAF in the 80th minute
LFC had time to kick off before the officials decided that, like boxing, the opposition couldn’t take any more and the game was over. A brilliant performance and I think the lads had listened...the opposition were well and truly buried!!
RAF Starting XI: Algar, Arscott, Donnelly, Bartley, McCormick, Macek, Wanless, Stewart, Stockport, Schofield, Rooney. Subs: Laing, Dales, Harris, Laurie, McLean, Robison, Cooper.
Management/Support: Beattie (RTM), Hancocks (Mr A), Sullivan (Match Liaison/Officials), Payne (Therapist), Sheehan (Comms/Photo), Reeves (Fundraising)