I would describe Birkenhead’s visit to Warrington in the Liverpool & District Knockout Competition as a ‘full on encounter’. A game which resulted in 30 goals being scored and 30 major or exclusion fouls (Warrington 18 Birkenhead 12), it was not a match for the feint hearted.
Warrington won the toss and elected to defend the deep. With instructions to use the maximum 30 seconds in attack, and to cover the counter attack in the difficult job of defending the deep. Warrington started well with a goal from Addison Brown. Unfortunately some errors started to creep in as a result of considerable pressure from Birkenhead, with Warrington being caught on the wrong side of the attacker and putting a tackle in resulting in exclusion after exclusion, seven exclusions in total against Warrington. As a result of good defence both from outfield players and Neil Musgrove in goal Warrington defended all seven power plays, remarkable. To add to Birkenhead’s woes, with 1 minute left of the first quarter Richard Goodwin-Robertson Warrington’s new powerful centre forward scored Warrington’s second goal. 2-0 at the end of the quarter, more than we could have hoped for.
In the second quarter we felt confident attacking the deep. It started off well with an exclusion foul giving Warrington a man up which was converted by Dave Price 3-0. Then with two minutes Birkenhead struck back with two quick goals, 3-2. Then Tom Cart sent out but again the power play defended and Warrington on the counter attack scored with Richard Goodwin-Robertson on the end of the attack once again. 4-2. Birkenhead struggled to contain Richard Goodwin-Robertson as he scored two more goals and Warrington appeared to be cruising. Birkenhead always looked dangerous with Chris Howard scoring all three of their goals in the second quarter. The second quarter ended 6-4 to Warrington the only worry being the 11 exclusion fouls conceded in two quarters with some players facing an early shower.
The third quarter saw a change of goal keepers with Peter Burke wearing the No1 cap in the deep end goal. Andy Evans scored first for Birkenhead making it 6-5 before 17 year old James Williams flashed a shot under the goalkeeper’s arms to restore Warrington’s two goal advantage. The Birkenhead duo of Howard and Evans scored again bringing the score to 7-7. Warrington then had two power plays with the referee’s rigid application of FINA rules but neither converted. Then Birkenhead scored again as their No7 was not closed down 5 metres out and carefully drilled it into the top corner of the net to take the lead 7-8. Just when Warrington looked like they were losing their grip of the match, Richard Goodwin-Robertson scored his first of the third quarter and 5th of the match. Two more exclusion one for each team but neither converted. Andy Evans restored Birkenhead’s 1 goal advantage with 26 seconds left of the third quarter. We thought that was it until with 4 seconds to go Addison Brown equalised making it 9-9. The table officials were getting writer’s cramp and glad for the 2 minute interval.
The fourth and final quarter started with clear instructions lets hit Birkenhead with fast counter attacks. Warrington did just exactly that with Richard Goodwin-Robertson scoring with 6 mins 44 ‘ left. Then on 6 min 26s Addison Brown scored his hat trick and on 5 min 55 ‘ Tom Hadley scored his first. 12-9 to Warrington surely that should kill off Birkenhead. Chris Howard pulled one back to 12-10, before Birkenhead conceded two more exclusion fouls. Warrington failed to convert the first but scored on the second power play via Addison Brown. With 3 mins 14 ‘ left on the clock another Birkenhead player excluded and Warrington converted the power play again, 14-10.
Surely that was game over but Birkenhead would not lie down with two goals in 34 seconds, 14-12. The reply once again came via Richard Goodwin-Robertson with 1 min 14‘ left on the clock, 15-12. Just to keep it interesting to the end Warrington gave a penalty away which was duly converted by Birkenhead, 15-13 and 26 ‘ left on the clock. Then Warrington’s Dave Price was caught in possession and the Birkenhead player appeared to impede him, not according to the referee, but as the Birkenhead player moved forwards the Warrington player as adjudged to have pulled the player back. With another exclusion another goal to Birkenhead and 15-14. With 14 seconds to go Richard Goodwin-Robertson fittingly finished off the final attack of the game with another breakaway goal and the final score 16-14.
An outstanding game with two teams determined not to give up. Even the referee commented on what a great game it was. Man of the match was Richard Goodwin-Robertson with nine goals. We now wait to see who we can play in the next round.
Warrington’s Team included, Neil Musgrove, James Williams, Dave Price, Addison Brown, Richard Goodwin-Robertson, Tom Hadley, Ian Musgrove, James Collins, Lee Chadwick, Peter Burke, Josh Regan.