‘Need a couple of drinks’ – City of Liverpool manager Michael Ellison conflicted after dramatic FA Cup win over Ramsbottom United

City of Liverpool striker James Steele celerates his second goal

City of Liverpool boss Michael Ellison was relieved that his side booked their place in the next round of the FA Cup but reiterated that improvement is still needed.

James Steele’s hat-trick sealing header broke the hearts of the Rams as they were just seconds away from taking the game to extra-time.

They were forced to play with 10 men for just under an hour after Kain Dean was sent for an early bath following a late lunge on Michael Simpson.

The Ramsbottom United left-back could’ve counted himself lucky that he was eligible for the replay following Saturday’s first meeting, after another late challenge on City of Liverpool’s Jack Walls.

Steele scored the first of two headers shortly before the break when he glanced in from James Edgar’s cross. He was in the right place at the right-time for the Purps‘ third where he bundled the ball home before he rose highest in the dying embers of stoppage time, nodding home the winner from Walls’ deep cross.

Max Allen was also on the scoresheet after expertly finding the top corner with a brilliant free-kick from a tight angle.

The entertainment was too much for Ellison, he told Off The Park: “I need a couple of drinks to be honest with you. We don’t do things easily, it was one of those games it had everything, sending off, seven goals.

“We conceded some really poor goals but then when it mattered we showed character and got the job done at the end of the day and I’m just delighted to be in the hat. Overall, we probably just deserved it but there’s a lot we need to improve on before Saturday.”

The Purps are in the next round, where they travel to Dunston, and Ellison thinks it’s the most important thing, he said: “That’s what we said before the game. I think we couldn’t have had preparation going to their place, we seen what they were about.

“Coming at home, we had the advantage with the conditions and the pitch, I don’t think there was much in it until the sending off, we had the lion share of possession, which you’d expect (with 10 men) they tried to hit us on the counter but we scored two really, really good goals.

“You’re 2-0, just see it till half-time, the Connor Harwood chance to make it three kills the game, games and buried ut we’ve conceded one right on half-time which can only be described as pathetic, it’s not good enough, lads know that and they’ve given them a lifeline and credit to them.

MATCH REPORT: City of Liverpool 4-3 Ramsbottom United: Steele’s treble hands Rams FA Cup heartache

“You have to give Ramsbottom credit, they stayed in the game. I think the second goal is a mistake by Ryan (Hamer) but he’ll learn from that, he’s pulled us out the crap a couple of times and we’ve done the same again tonight.

“To concede the third was suicidal to go up the other end immediately and a great header from Steeley to get his hat-trick – rightly deserved because he’s worked his socks off the last three games and deserved.”

Speaking to Off The Park after the defeat to Skelmersdale United, last week, Ellison was concerned about their profligate start. Those worries were partially eradicated in the replay, scoring four, but the goals conceded added concern for the City of Liverpool manager.

He added: “We got four (goals) but the problem is we conceded three, I think we’ve got a lot of experience on that pitch and I just expected that little bit more to see the game out, we missed the game chance with Connor but you’ve got to go in 2-0.

“We’ve played the game against 10 men and a lot of the time it doesn’t make a difference, they sit in and counter waiting on that mistake. You go in at 2-0 and it’s game over, 2-1 and they’re in the game so we have to learn from that but the goals we conceded from our point of view were really, really poor.

“I don’t think they’ve opened us up, the first goal it’s a great finish from the lad we’ve not tracked the runner and it’s gone back to front, the free-kicks a mistake and the third, they’ve had a shot and he’s just followed it in.

“There’s stuff we need to improve on defensively, going forward we looked okay but against 10 men you should do.”

After back-to-back defeats to Glossop North End and Paul McNally’s side, Ellison revealed the impact that the win had ahead of their Bank Holiday clashes with Macclesfield before the derby clash with Bootle – who appointed former Football League defender Steve McNulty as their new manager after Brian Richardson’s sacking.

He concluded: “It’s certainly changed the atmosphere in there getting that late winner, the last thing we needed after the games we’ve got coming up – three in five days – the last thing we needed was extra-time.

“Last minute winner, the lads have got a boost in the changing room and hopefully go into Saturday confident but there’s plenty to work on and we’ll be getting them in there to work on it.”

[Featured image: Paul Moran]

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