Liverpool Reserves 2 Middlesbrough Reserves 0
LIVERPOOL Reserves’ French forward David Ngog marked his Halliwell Jones Stadium debut with a double strike as the Reds returned to winning ways against Middlesbrough tonight.
The 19-year-old sealed Liverpool’s first Barclays Premier Reserve League North win since November with two goals in six second-half minutes.
He latched on to Daniel Pacheco’s square pass before knocking the ball past inspired Middlesbrough keeper Jason Steele in the 59th minute.
And then a delicate chip from the France under 19s international took the game out of Boro’s reach.
Liverpool deserved their three-point reward for the third time this season after all their toil and creativity.
If it had not been for some outstanding saves from Steele the Reds would have slammed in more goals, with former Paris St Germain frontman Ngog looking hungry for his hat-trick.
With midfielder Jay Spearing slotting in at centre half and marshalling the back line, as well as Spanish striker Pacheco dominating out of position in the middle, Gary Ablett’s men were rarely in trouble.
Ngog gave warning of his sharpness as he turned marker Rhys Williams inside out early on and then linked up well with Hungarian Krisztian Nemeth and Dutchman Vincent Weijl before Pacheco stroked a 25-yard shot wide.
Although midfielder Shaun Saiko hit the side netting and striker Thomas Craddock fluffed a clean chance in front of goal for Middlesbrough, with perhaps Spearing’s close-down putting him off, Liverpool’s domination continued.
Frenchman Nabil El Zhar fired high with only Steele to beat and then the keeper’s legs came to Boro’s rescue after Pacheco threaded Nemeth clean through.
Pacheco’s 20-yard free kick had Steele in action again just minutes before he quickly got down to push away Nemeth’s header from Stephen Darby’s ball into the box.
Nemeth curled a shot wide on the turn after Pacheco’s corner was only partially cleared and then Ngog stepped inside his marker before unleashing a vicious strike that Steele was again equal to.
The first half ended with centre half Mikel San Jose Dominguez angling a headed effort over the bar from Pacheco’s precise corner.
Ngog finally made two chances count as the assault continued in the second half.
Substitute Andras Simon saw his long-range effort screw away from goal and then his power driver was pushed over the bar by Steele.
El Zhar attempted to have the final say with a low strike but the outstanding Steele was just as alert in the 93rd minute as he had been at the starting whistle.
Liverpool Reserves: Peter Gulacsi, Emmanuel Gomis Mendy, Stephen Darby, Mikel San Jose Dominguez, Jay Spearing, Damien Plessis, Nabil El Zhar, Daniel Pacheco (Vitor Flora 77), Krisztian Nemeth (Andras Simon 69), David Ngog, Vincent Weijl (Steven Irwin 46). Unused subs: Martin Hansen, Victor Palsson.
Middlesbrough Reserves: Jason Steele, Ashley Corker, Joseph Bennett, Richard Smallwood, Rhys Williams, Jordan Robinson, Peter Gal-Andrezly (James Cronesberry 62), Shaun Saiko (James Gray 72), Thomas Craddock, Nathan Porritt (Gary Martin 76), Jonathan Franks. Unused subs: Sam Filler, Philip Shead.
Referee: W Barratt.
Warrington Guardian man of the match: Daniel Pacheco.