Thursday, March 17, 2011

Last-Gasp Gunners Sink Reds

Pep Segura's first match in charge of Liverpool Reserves ended in disappointment as they went down to a last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday night.

The Reds had looked to have salvaged a point when Tom Ince cancelled out Luke Freeman's stunning first-half effort in the final minute.

However, the Gunners striker powered home a fine header deep into stoppage time as the away side were ultimately made to pay for their profligacy in the final third.

The result means the reserves have now lost two of their last three matches but Segura will have taken many positives from an improved second-half display which will leave them confident they can regroup in time for next week's mini derby against Everton at Anfield.

The showdown with the Gunners provided the second-string with a real test of their credentials and the Spaniard will have been happy with the fast start his side made at Underhill.

Indeed, the visitors could have gone in front as early as the second minute when Nikola Saric's clever run took him in behind the Arsenal rearguard, but the Dane's first touch forced him away from goal and his low shot was easily blocked by James Shea.

Next, some clever feet from Toni Silva saw the Portuguese ace burst into the penalty area from the right-hand touchline but his rushed effort dribbled harmlessly wide of target.

The Reds had looked relatively comfortable in the opening half hour but saw all their good work undone on 32 minutes when some sloppy play led to an opening goal for the home side.

A stray pass caused a mix-up between Alex Cooper and Andre Wisdom, allowing Freeman to seize upon possession, cut inside Stephen Sama and smash an unstoppable 25 yard drive into the top corner.

The goal gave the Gunners an immediate lift and nine minutes later they should have doubled their advantage from the penalty spot.

Wisdom was adjudged to have felled Roarie Deacon in the area but Rhys Murphy crashed the resulting kick against the post.

It was a huge let-off for the away side and they began the second period in the ascendancy.

First Ince went close with a mazy run and shot before Saric somehow contrived to fluff a gilt-edged chance inside the six yard box following some superb work down the right by Silva.

The Reds continued to dominate and after Sama looped a header just over the top Ince saw another shot well blocked by Shea.

With time running out Segura opted to introduce Michael Ngoo to try and force a deserved equaliser and it was his presence that led to an error from Shea that allowed Ince to fire into an empty net on 89 minutes.

However, the hosts piled forward in stoppage time and eventually stole the points courtesy of Freeman's powerful header from a left-wing corner.

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