Superb Bears bring down the league leaders
There was much anticipation for the meeting between the top two in the league, with Liverpool putting their unbeaten start to the season to the test.
Straight from the off it was obvious that the Bears were going to play a strong attacking game and it proved to be the perfect tactic as the visitors struggled to contain them.
Bevan Burey opened up with a strong run and won a free kick, it was pinged into the area and Liverpool struggled to handle it but eventually got it away. The Bears continued to pile forward and put pressure on the visitor’s goal, Dean Warburton came closest with a rasping shot which went just wide of the post.
The reward for this domination came in the 19th minute. A ball was played into the corner and Mini Adegbenro chased, pulled it back and to Rick Peters, he fed Tom Schofield, who played a one two with Warburton and raced into the area with the return, beat two defenders and fired the ball across Ashcroft and into the corner of the net, 1-0 Bears.
Liverpool now tried to apply the pressure and created a couple of good chances but Tom Morris headed one away and Craig Ellison was on hand to hold the other, then Dalton headed a good chance over the bar and a brilliant save from Ellison denied him when he seemed destined to equalise.
Five minutes before the break Peters had a good chance as he closed in on goal, only for the feet of Ashcroft to deny him.
On the stroke of half time Morris intercepted a Liverpool cross field ball deep in his own half. He found Warburton on the half way line, who turned, looked up and played the perfect pass through the visitors defence to Adegbenro who ran into the area and fired it low past the advancing keeper 2-0 Bears and much deserved.
Half Time Congleton Town 2-0 City of Liverpool
Liverpool started the second half with a chance but Ellison caught easily. Then it was more Bears pressure. Adegbenro played in a low cross to Dan Cope who turned and hit a low shot which Ashcroft saved brilliantly with his feet. He was then on hand to save a curling Cope shot that looked bound for the far corner and he was there again to tip a Warburton shot over the bar. Liverpool were restricted to shots from distance which didn’t trouble Ellison and Tom Stephens worked hard to contain any forays down the right.
On 58 minutes the visitors had a free kick on the right, the ball was played in to the Bears box, there was a scramble and Schofield managed to boot it up field. Cope collected on the half way line, brought it down, turned and left the defender for dead as he ran in on goal then let fly from 25 yards and saw the ball nestle in the back of the net. 3-0 Bears. The crowd went wild.
City of Liverpool tried to find a way back but the Bears defence thwarted every effort. A neat move which saw several Bears players knocking the ball around with Antony Griffith at the centre finally led to Burey firing in from a tight angle, just over the bar. The visitors finally had a chance when Forbes turned in the box but his shot was into the side netting. Josh Ryder was then on hand with a timely tackle and clearance.
As the final minutes approached a Bears free kick was played long to sub Saul Henderson and his low cross brought a sharp low save from Ashcroft as John Main closed in.
The final whistle brought to an end a superb game of football which was a great advert for the game at this level. Both sides had given everything but it was the Bears who deserved the three points and their 15th clean sheet in 24 games. They had closed the gap to just 5 points at the top of the table. All 13 players put in a fantastic effort.
Team: Ellison, Stephens, Peters, Ryder, Morris, Griffith, Burey, Warburton, Cope (Henderson 75), Schofield, Adegbenro (Main 85)
Unused: Disney, Williams, Jamieson
Attendance 313, the best since the 2-1 win at home to Newcastle Town in 2009/10 when 321 watched the game.
After the game manager Brian Pritchard was keen to keep the win in perspective. He praised the whole team for the way they battled all afternoon, executing the game plan perfectly but was quick to point out that this is only November and not April and there is a return at City of Liverpool to play in a few weeks time. He said that thoughts and plans now moved to the \Macron Cup game at Abbey Hulton in two weeks time, but for now the players and fans could enjoy the win.