Tonight Was About Winning Over The Fans
Steve Holland was happy with his team after last night's close encounter with European giants Liverpool in the Carling Cup.
Though Liverpool didn't field their strongest side, the Alex still faced the likes of Babel, Pennant, Agger and Hyppia, whilst the final quarter of the game saw the likes of Torres, Robbie Keane and Jamie Carragher introduced. It's fair to say that, despite Liverpool's strength, the Alex could well have snatched a draw in the 90 minutes.
It was a sloppy foul that allowed Liverpool the chance to open on 15 minutes, with Agger firing into the bottom left corner of Collis' net an almost unstoppable shot. Whilst most expected Liverpool to push on it was the Railwaymen who found some attacking spirit which let to O'Connor bundling in a Billy Jones corner - que 3,000+ Alex fans behind the goal going mental.
Liverpool's quality and composure showed and in the second half they pressured enough to snatch the winner as a Leiver header looped up and over Collis' head just before the hour mark.
The Alex battled back towards the end of the game, with Tom Pope missing a sitter, but in the end had too little too late.
Despite the defeat it was still a pleasing performance for management, players and fans and it was Steve Holland who immediately plraised his team.
Speaking to CreweAlex.net, Holland said: 'We pushed them all the way and I was most proud of the way the players concentrated and were organised throughout the game. It wasn't until they brought Torres on that they looked like slicing us open and we needed Steve Collis to make one or two good saves to keep us in the tie.
'I think it was an indication of how well our players performed that they brought on the likes of Torres and Robbie Keane.
'We gave away an unnecessary free kick for the first goal. I think it was a foul by Michael O'Connor but credit to Agger because it was a fantastic strike. I thought we rallied pretty well after that and scored a good goal. We had done some work on set plays and corners, because Liverpool mark in zones.
'The supporters seemed pleased with the players efforts at the end of the game, and so they should be. Our fans were terrific behind that goal and kept us going. Tonight was about trying to win one or two of them over and I think we did that.', Holland concluded.
It's now back down to earth for Holland and the team as Saturday brings a tough trip to Bristol Rovers.
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