Invincibles! Hat-trick hero Ben Coward helps Man Met firsts finish the season unbeaten
- Man Met firsts finish season unbeaten with a 6-2 win away at Liverpool Hope
- Goals from Ollie Putnam, Ben Coward and Mark Faflik
- Both teams end game with 10 men following two sendings off
The victory rounds off an almost perfect season for the firsts as they gain promotion to the Men's Northern Tier 2 with only two points dropped in 10 games.
However, despite winning the game by four goals and man of the match, Ben Coward scoring a hat-trick, it’s fair to say the score line somewhat flattered the league Champions.
It was clear to see early on that Liverpool Hope were not going to sit back and allow Man Met to attack, showing a 'nothing to lose' attitude from the first whistle.
The home side stunned MMU just inside 10 minutes with a brilliant effort from 30 yards out which smashed against the cross bar.
Nonetheless, Man Met took their first real chance as Ollie Putnam scored from a free kick in the 13th minute. His looping shot from just outside the box managed to evade the keepers reach, despite getting a good a hand to it.
Just six minutes later and Liverpool Hope found their equaliser through a set piece of their own. A well-weighted free kick found the head of a white shirt who broke free of his marker before glancing the ball past goalkeeper, Prince Osei, to make it 1-1.
Disaster then struck for Man Met on the 30-minute mark as Liverpool Hope won themselves a penalty. Defender Aadi Luck booked for bringing their player down in the box.
Manager Gareth Smith must have seen the 'invincibles' title slipping away as Liverpool Hope made it 2-1 from the spot.
Ben Coward, however, continued to work tirelessly off the ball, pressing Liverpool’s back line.
The striker's hard work soon paid off when he equalised for Man Met just before the break. A cutting through ball found the feet of Coward who skilfully took it round the keeper before calmly slotting the ball into an empty net to make it 2-2.
In the second half Man Met looked more switched on following an important half time team talk, in which the experience in some of the lad’s final game for the club shone through.
They took the lead once again in the 48th minute as Hope failed to clear from a corner, giving Ben Coward the task of smashing it in from six yards out.
Despite taking the lead MMU fell back into old habits, with Liverpool threatening as they hit the bar once again.
But it would be a controversial decision by the referee which would ultimately decide the fate of the game. Awarding Man Met a penalty before sending Liverpool Hopes keeper off early in the second half.
From here Mark Faflik confidently dispatched his penalty to make it 4-2 in the 65th minute.
Man Met finally found their rhythm and soon killed the game following a parried attempt by Joel McKenna. The ball fell perfectly for Coward who made it a hat-trick on the last day.
Moments later a nightmare back pass put the game out of sight as the ball trickled into the net for an own goal. MMU going 6-2 up.
And just as the day’s drama seemed to have concluded, the referee once again reached for his red card. This time sending Nathan Baker off to bitterly end what has been a fantastic season for the midfielder.
Watch NQ's post-match reaction with Man Met's Gareth Smith below:
2/2 “They were probably the better team on the day.” Post-match interview with Man Met’s Head Coach @garethandsmith.— Joe Ward (@Joe_Journalism) March 3, 2022
Look out for my full match report later today on @northernquota#MMU #LHU pic.twitter.com/EdsGAR5Cl4