By – Sour
**Apologies for the tardiness of this report, i tried to re-write it so that it wasn't all geeky at the start, but I didn't get far and had to resort to publishing this version**
Despite blatantly ripping off the Star Wars theme from both George Lucas and Liverpool’s own match report from last week (Episode V: The Geordies strike back – you know because it was the second game this season like in Star Wars when it started at IV...never mind), I like it so you’ll have to live with it, through tiresome metaphors and comparisons between the films and games of lacrosse – at least until I get into the bones of the report.
For a brief history of the Newcastle/Liverpool club lacrosse rivalry check out <last week’s report>, but needless to say this instalment didn’t disappoint. Queue the Star Wars comparisons:
· Episode I (Bluesfest) was a bit rubbish, even some fancy double handed lightsabre action (ie Webbe scoring) couldn’t save it from (justified) criticism.
· Episode II (<away league game) was better; there were some nice bits of drama and the final action sequence game me goose bumps.
· Episode III (home cup game) was the best of the first three, great dramatic sequences, suspense, the traditional good v evil match-up. Fortunately though no-one lost their legs, or gave birth to twins.
So this brings us to the beginning of the saga: Episode IV. Two full strength teams ready for combat, a pitch that was as they would say in horse racing parlance “firm, soft in places” but with plenty to offer both sides.
Friday night had the Knights with a squad of 15 containing debutants Pete Hannapel, Dave Royce and Dave Bryant, only for a last minute withdrawal from Royce to reduce them to 14. They also welcomed back goalie Zanner Michael for his first game since a one-half cameo towards the end of last season in a game that saw former D3 standout goalie Austin “Main-Train” Main working his butt off at crease attack. The defence of Warwick, Ellwood and Webbe, supported by the ever dynamic Standiford at LSM had Hannapel, Higginbottom, Lacey, Stewart, Bryant, and Beattie in front of them in the midfield. Webb, Ford and Wheeldon rounded out the squad in attack.
Some inspirational talk from Webb before the game declaring the possibility of a “new beginning” and “kick-start[ed]” season failed to deliver the desired first quarter result. Despite having a fairly equal share of possession and Hannapel smashing it up at the face-off X, the boys from Broadway West came into quarter time down 1-3, with Bryant the scorer. This however would be the last break that the Knights would find themselves behind.
The second quarter saw the opposite score line, with goals from Happanel, Lacey and Bryant bringing the sides in to the half at 4-4. During the Second, Liverpool started a psychological meltdown that saw them unable to stay onside during even the simplest of movements over the half way line that lasted for the rest of the game. Needless to say this didn’t help their morale, team spirit or general mood.
The third quarter saw the Knights jump into a 2 goal lead on the back of tallies from Happanel and Bryant. A massive effort on the back end with Michael making some huge saves ensured a shut-out and a 6-4 scoreline at three quarter time.
The fourth showed none of the near implosion style tactics from the Geordies that nearly scuppered last week’s result, as Bryant scored his third and Wheeldon notched his first after Liverpool had pulled it back to a 1 goal game.
Liverpool will be disappointed by the result, and their performance. But they didn’t appear to have learned any lessons from the previous week’s loss at Broadway West. Their success had come when they forced the Silver defence to move and rotate before feeding inside. Whereas at Liverpool earlier in the season they had success on the dodge, the D as a whole, and a special shout out to the shortsticks who worked their socks off, really limited the opportunities.
There’s no doubt Liverpool have a lot of individual talent and a great team spirit, and as such remain strong favourites for promotion, but they’re going to have to play a smarter and more team oriented game next season to get results against the more organised teams in Premier 2.
Newcastle will take a whole load of heart into a bye week as the other Prem 3 teams finish off their cup assignments, but disappointingly lose the enormous amount of momentum that would have carried over had there been a game.
The level of the performance was still some way short of the (first) Oldham game, but the control and will shown, show how far the team has bounced back since the (second) Oldham game. If performances of this quality (and with them the results) keep coming, then promotion is a possibility that can’t be overlooked.
Season Scorers to date
Andy Ford 22
John Wheeldon 16
Mark Webb 13
Nick Lacey 12
Kyle Standiford 5
Dave Bryant 3
Andy Higginbottom 2
Pete Happanel 2
Robin Webb 2
Steve Warwick 1
Sam Ridgeway 1
Liam Thomas 1
Previews, match reports and general musings from the Toon and beyond.