Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
Liverpool Report Part 4
By: Richard Lord
Extra time first period. Once again Liverpool lined up to shoot towards us for the extra time first period. Redknapp immediately spread play wide and played an inch-perfect pass to the toe of Smicer on the left hand touchline. He took the ball down well, showed it to Pouton before taking it away from him and moving in on goal. Coyne came out and Smicer rather greedily tried to be clever and chip it over Coyne, but Danny was having none of it and almost made the block at Smicer's feet with his chest. Cue another sigh of relief from the Town fans behind the goal. Then just a minute or two later, Murphy was played in behind the defence but the ball wouldn't drop for him. He saw his shot flash wide of the far post but again Coyne had rushed out and forced Murphy to hit the ball early.
Then disaster struck. Hyypia this time was the player to spread the ball wide to Smicer who didn't exactly control the ball as it bobbled up in the area. He looked to take the ball past Beharall but again it wouldn't come down for the Liverpool player in the area, and with Beharall turning he knocked the ball about two centimetres away from Smicer. We looked at the referee. He gave nothing. A noise came from behind the linesman in the home crowd. The linesman, who looked to have ignored the incident, raised his flag and put it across his chest. Then the referee pointed at the spot. It was cruel on Town because although Beharall had handled the ball, Smicer was going nowhere and it was as if the home fans' protests won the penalty. The linesman chose not to flag for the Hyypia/Boulding incident on 90 minutes, so why would he suddenly choose to take action against Town now? It did seem a home decision but we all feared the worst when Beharall brought his arm up to the ball.
McAllister took his time to place the ball and run up. Coyne did his usual routine of dancing around on the line but this did nothing to distract the former Scotland international as he struck the ball safely into the bottom right corner of the goal. Coyne had dived the right way but was just a foot away and a second too late to get near it. It was a cruel blow for Town, who didn't look like conceding. They were so near the end of the game and our chances seemed to have disappeared because as an attacking force we had been very quiet all game.
Extra time second period It was about at this time that Chapman came off the field to be replaced by Allen. Jevons seemed to move wide right but stayed up and didn't quite drop back as a midfielder. The 4-3-3 formation looked to have made its return, greeted with a few looks of disbelief. But it changed the game. The formation, which was Town's downfall against Rotherham on Friday night, changed the game at Anfield. Suddenly the ball was played to Jevons, Allen and Boulding much sooner. Campbell, Pouton and Butterfield ran their socks off in midfield to stop Liverpool breaking away. Once they failed and Murphy turned past Beharall to shoot low, but again Coyne was equal to it.
Then minutes later a long ball found Heskey who had a head start on Groves, the last defender. The home crowd rose to their feet as Heskey moved into the area, but from nowhere Groves came in and made the tackle of the season on a player who cost Â£11m. It was simply an amazing saving tackle, which proved to be the turning point of the game.
Gallimore brought the ball away from the goal kick and played the ball down the line to Boulding. Going nowhere, he turned Hyypia and tried to beat him for pace, which he did until the Finnish international brought him down as he advanced towards the area. Town just about got every player forward and Liverpool got everyone back. This was the first time Town had the opportunity to mount a sustained amount of pressure. Gallimore stood over the ball and crossed it in where there was an almighty scramble. Heskey was the one back who got it away, and Liverpool looked to break. I'm not sure but I think it was Butterfield who won it back, played it to Pouton who played a clever ball over the top to Campbell. He took it to the by-line where he whipped over a superb cross. Allen moved to attack it, the ball clipped the top of someone's head and it bounced up for Broomes at the far post, about 10 yards out. The keeper was scuttling across his line and defenders moved toward the ball but the Town fans held their breath as the first real opportunity of the game presented itself on a plate to Town. Broomes got to the ball first and volleyed it down into the ground and the flailing arms of Kirkland couldn't keep the ball from hitting the back of the net. The Town fans went wild. The unthinkable had happened. We had come back from the dead and equalised in extra time, at Anfield. Broomes went to the crowd and the rest of the Town players followed, Jevons leapt on his back and punched the air. I was luckily near the steps and had to move out of the row to create more room for celebrations. I took the time to look back and across the whole stand where you could see thousands of Town fans go absolutely ballistic. Mayhem, chaos, things were thrown, scarves were waved and the noise didn't ever die down after that. We had gone rather quiet after Liverpool took the lead, but this got us back on song.
The game had restarted but not many people had noticed. No one really knew how long was left as there's no scoreboard at Anfield, but the players continued to battle away. I think Coyne made another good save from Smicer as he cut inside and moved into the box, but Coyne got down well and parried it out. Campbell moved onto the ball and rode a challenge to bring it out of our half. Suddenly the game had exploded. The atmosphere was back and penalties loomed. Most of us began to whistle and would have paid ridiculous amounts of money for the final whistle to have been blown there and then. Then the unthinkable happened.
Coyne's massive goal kick went well into the Liverpool half where Hyypia got above Allen to head away. Jevons picked the ball up, took three neat touches before releasing a wicked shot from 30 yards, which sailed high and remained suspended in the air for an eternity. It at first looked like an ambitious shot which was surely flying well over the bar. No one gasped, the stadium went deadly quiet. It seemed like a 'nothing' shot which was never going to trouble Kirkland. Then the keeper started to move his feet, the ball then kept travelling at the same height as Kirkland bent back to reach for the ball. Suddenly this shot might be going somewhere. Kirkland's hand flicked the air and none of the ball as it glided softly below the bar and inside the post, hitting the net and curling into the goal. It was as if in slow-motion. Suddenly it sunk in - a goal, and what a goal! We were all seated at the time because the attack looked like going nowhere. Then out of the blue Jevons scored the goal of his life, all in a couple of seconds but it felt like hours.
The Town fans just didn't know what to do. We jumped, shouted, waved, clapped, the players ran around the goal, Butterfield took off his shirt and waved it at the fans. I had never jumped so much in my life. My voice had practically gone after celebrating the first goal and when the second went in I couldn't get a sound out. All I could do was jump erratically and flail about the place waving my arms about the place. Once more I moved out of the row of seating to create more room to dance around the place. The noise was incredible, and the sight of Liverpool fans leaving early was just too good to believe. There we were stood, holding our scarves aloft singing "You'll never walk alone!"
Still the game wasn't over but the referee didn't take too long to blow the final whistle. Suddenly it sunk in - we had beaten Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield. The fans went mad, the players all came over to the crowd and shouted a lot, especially Coyne. It was the kind of goal which would win any match and it was the Scouser himself Phil Jevons who scored it!
The report continues in Part 5
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