Match report U21s beaten at Rochdale in Papa Johns Trophy as Arthur features
Liverpool U21s were narrowly beaten 1-0 by Rochdale in the Papa Johns Trophy on Tuesday evening at Crown Oil Arena.
Barry Lewtas named senior squad member Arthur Melo in his starting line-up for the Group D clash in what was a keenly contested affair.
The hosts signalled their intent straight from kick-off with Luke Hewitson forced into early action on three occasions, while Ian Henderson headed over from a Tyrese Sinclair delivery.
Liverpool grew more comfortable as the opening stages passed and Harvey Blair caused Rochdale problems down the left-hand side.
Oludare Olufunwa saw a volley blocked from a Reds corner ball before Liam Kelly’s driven effort from distance flew past the woodwork as the two teams exchanged chances.
Henderson glanced another header at goal ahead of the interval, though the opportunity fell the wrong side of the far post for the veteran striker.
Liverpool started the second half on the front foot and Arthur himself saw a header drop past the frame of the goal from a Lewis Koumas cross.
The midfielder’s evening ended shortly after the hour mark as he made way for Academy player-coach Jay Spearing.
Hewitson was forced into almost immediate action following the restart to keep the scores level, saving low from a well-struck Rayhaan Tulloch shot.
The Reds were threatening late on with Layton Stewart testing the palms of home stopper Richard O’Donnell but it was Jim Bentley’s side who broke the deadlock.
Sinclair slid substitute Tahvon Campbell into the box and the forward lifted the ball over the onrushing Hewitson with just eight minutes remaining.
The striker was again involved two minutes later, winning a penalty for his team that also resulted in defender Olufunwa receiving a second yellow card.
Hewitson, though, denied Henderson brilliantly from 12 yards to prevent the home team adding to the scoreline and keep Lewtas’ charges in the encounter.
The young Reds attempted a late response but were unable to restore parity in the closing stages, leaving Rochdale to claim the points.
Liverpool U21s: Hewitson, McConnell, Stephenson, Olufunwa, Corness, Norris, Bajcetic (Pinnington, 62), Arthur (Spearing, 62), Koumas (Hayes-Green, 88), Blair, Stewart.
Unused substitutes: Kelly, Gyimah.