It was a scene of contrasting emotions at full-time. The City of Liverpool players lay crestfallen in defeat as Prescot Cables’ jubilation was tinged with relief after their 2-1 win.
Moments before the final whistle blew, Purps goalkeeper Calvin Hare went up for a corner, rising to meet the delivery only to see his free header shave the outside of the far post.
The blow-for-blow clash was a tale of two sides with differing fortunes. Cables went into the derby encounter on the back of their commanding away win over Hanley Town, ending their run of disappointment. City of Liverpool, meanwhile, were left hard done by after being beaten by a late goal by 1874 Northwich in an otherwise dominant display from the Purps.
An expert finish from Xenon Bahula, a half-time substitute, wasn’t enough as first-half efforts from Kyle Sambor and John Murphy proved to be the difference.
Though throughout the exchanges in the first 45, Cables and the Purps fought it out in the middle of the ring in a slug-fest.
Paul McNally’s City of Liverpool that had the first opening. Josh Quarless’ curling free-kick sparked a diving save from Mitch Allen.
The Bulls answered back when Hare was called into action, making a save with his left leg, after Jack Goodwin found space behind on the left.
Mitch Allen then had to show his quality in one-v-one situations for the hosts. Neat, intricate play from the City of Liverpool saw Danny Mitchley’s dummy create an opening for Schorah but the Cables shot-stopper blocked well.
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Shortly before the half-hour mark, the first knockdown was landed, through an emphatic Sambor strike. Goodwin found joy inside, dancing through the middle before his deflected shot was parried by Hare. The rebound fell to Sambor who rifled a first-time strike which bulged in the back of the net.
Nine minutes before the break, Steven Daley’s side doubled their lead. Murphy shrugged off the challenge of two Purps defenders and fired low with his effort creeping in to far left corner.
McNally used all of his substitutions during the interval, in a bid to rejuvenate his side, Max Allen was introduced alongside threatening duo of Xenon Bahula and Jawad Jebrin.
While the first 45 was very much a story of two boxers going hammer and tong, the second-half saw City of Liverpool very much have their opponents on the ropes.
With one of his first touches Bahula almost halved the deficit. He was a whisker away from pulling a goal back only for his effort to fizz side.
The sight on goal proved to be a sign of things to come. As the heavens opened, Cables were caught cold and it proved costly.
The attacker curled into the bottom right corner – leaving Allen rooted to the spot – after a corner was only cleared to the edge of the box.
Goodwin offered an opportunity of respite for the hosts as he burst forward on the counter-attack. The Cables attacker did brilliantly to hold off his man and get a shot off but he was denied by an equally good save from Hare.
City of Liverpool captain Mitchley had one of the best chances to level proceedings but couldn’t turn home from six yards. Substitutes Jebrin and Allen combined but a glorious chance went begging.
The Purps continued knocking as they entered last chance saloon. Hare went up for the corner with the 707 in attendance at the Joseph Russell Stadium holding its breath.
It was there in lights for the shot-stopper as he met Allen’s corner with a free-header only to see it bounce the wrong side of the post.
The late miss meant Prescot Cables move into the playoff positions and into fifth. Mossley’s comeback win denied the Bulls moving up to fourth, meanwhile City of Liverpool sit second from bottom, a point from safety.