Sunday, January 27, 2008

Liverpool 5-2 Havant & W'looville

Liverpool had to come from behind twice to beat Havant & Waterlooville and reach the FA Cup fifth round.
Richard Pacquette's header put Havant ahead before Leiva Lucas equalised for Liverpool with a superb 25-yard curler.
Alfie Potter restored the part-timers' lead with a deflected effort, but Yossi Benayoun made it 2-2 from 15 yards.
Benayoun drove in just after the break and stroked home from a rebound to complete his hat-trick before Peter Crouch tapped in to make it 5-2.
Once they had moved into the lead, Liverpool finally looked like a team of millionaire professionals playing against non-league opposition.
But it was far from that way in the first half as Liverpool squandered possession and were harried into making mistakes as the Blue Square South side showed little sign of big-match nerves.
Yet the home side should have opened the scoring on three minutes when Jermaine Pennant outpaced his marker and delivered a perfect cross, but Benayoun somehow headed wide.
Havant, buoyed by their let-off, soon gave a warning to the Reds defence when Potter got himself in a good position and forced Martin Skrtel to make a block.
And three minutes later, the team 122 places beneath their hosts proved it was no empty threat as they took the lead from a set-piece.
Mo Harkin whipped in a corner and Pacquette headed the ball downwards, and wheeled away in celebration after seeing it bounce into the top corner.
Surely that would prove just a blip, and Liverpool would go on to dominate, but not so, as the Hampshire side snapped into the tackles, kept their discipline and their shape - and kept Liverpool at bay with relative ease.
Liverpool's passing continually went astray and a Havant side containing a van driver, a binman and a school caretaker started to look like they might just pull off one of the biggest Cup shocks of all time.
Indeed, Havant had a great chance to take a two-goal lead when the ball fell to Neil Sharp after a goalmouth scramble, but his volley was always rising.
Instead, the Reds were level when Lucas produced his side's first moment of genuine quality, curling in a brilliant effort as Havant stood off him.
Cue relief all around at Anfield - bar the 6,000 away fans - but it proved to be short-lived, lasting only four minutes.
Deservedly, Havant restored their lead when they capitalised on a mistake by Steve Finnan, whose misjudgement allowed the ball to reach Potter, whose shot went in off Skrtel.
Still Liverpool struggled to make an impact but then they created a chance that proved crucial to the outcome just before the interval.
Pennant threaded a pass through to Benayoun and he clipped the ball onto the left corner to ensure the score was all-square at half-time.
After the interval, Liverpool raised their game and took the lead for the first time in the match when Pennant crossed for Benayoun, who swivelled and unleashed a fierce shot which went in off the underside of the bar.
It seemed to settle Liverpool, and left the Hawks reflecting on what might have been.
And when Benayoun cracked in his third goal to put Liverpool 4-2 up after Ryan Babel's shot had been well saved, you could sense that Havant might struggle to keep the score down.
Benayoun was denied his fourth goal when his volley was saved superbly by Kevin Scriven as Liverpool finally began to dominate.
It would have been harsh on Havant had Liverpool gone on to record a huge victory.
And in fact, Havant almost made the score closer when Tom Jordan's header was acrobatically kept out by Charles Itandje.
But they did concede a fifth as Crouch tapped in, but Havant can be proud of an excellent display that certainly had the Premier League giants squirming.
Liverpool: Itandje, Finnan, Skrtel, Hyypia (Carragher 84), Riise, Pennant, Mascherano (Gerrard 87), Lucas, Benayoun (Kuyt 72), Crouch, Babel.Subs Not Used: Martin, Torres.
Goals: Lucas 27, Benayoun 44, 56, 59, Crouch 90.

Havant and W: Scriven, Smith, Jordan, Sharp, Warner (Taggart 40), Harkin, Wilkinson (Oatway 74), Collins, Potter, Pacquette (Slabber 57), Baptiste.Subs Not Used: Steven Gregory, Taylor.
Booked: Wilkinson.
Goals: Pacquette 8, Skrtel 31 og.
Att: 42,566
Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

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