Soon after the whistle rang out a high ball by the hosts saw No 9 (Rick Tindall) battle out wide and send in a cross. No 8 (Benito Lowe) connected with an ample hoofing that saw the ball fly to the bottom corner. The guest keeper kept his peepers on the trajectory and got down in double-quick time to push behind for a corner. The ball from the angle came, No 2 (Christopher Rogers) put his cranium on the sphere but the outcome was way off target.
The Millers had a spring in their step (and one or two fizzing amphetamines up their arse I thought), they latched onto a loose Liverpool pass, No 10 (Teddy Osipitan) darted and only had the keeper to beat but the gloved blighter stuck out a peg and saved his sides slightly sizzling bacon. A follow-up chance was had but the mitter was on it. As you were folks, as you were!
After a couple more pseudo-scares the guests summoned up a surge that resulted in a corner. The ball went long, was nutted back, played out and reposted onto the nut of No 7 (William McCarthy) who only had the keeper to beat. His effort went... on the wrong side of the post.
The AFC pack now came on, No 10 (Callum Schorah) had a pop that the keeper spilled and yet managed to still survive any penetration to his meshings and then The Millers played around at the back, ran out of options and possession of the globe with No 9 (Kyle Schorah) the beneficiary. The striker wasted no time in setting his sights and walloping home a low drive, a drive that broke the deadlock and gave the visitors a surprise lead.
No sooner had the game restarted than K Schorah was posing more threat and getting tumbled for his troubles. The referee waved play on, a shot came and went wide, I considered it a big chance lost. The leading unit now played some good midfield football and were winning most of the 50/50 balls. No 11 (Rhys Hardacre) had the next pop from the pack, the keeper did well to only give away a corner which was easily negated. A free-kick soon followed, the red army seemed to be on a roll but the wall was clattered, a breakaway came and No 8 (James Howell) was booked after a clumsy, but far from malicious tackle.
From more midfield competing a ball was squirted through to Liverpool's K Schorah who, all alone, had a defender to negotiate as well as the keeper. A spurt, a quick sight of goal was all that was needed as the shank swung, the globe was propelled and the net was bulged for the second time. Two fine strikes for sure, well played that man.
The response to this second suckerpunch was a corner, a corner that saw a real in-box scramble with the ball on the line and there to be buried. Somehow the Reds survived, soaked up another NM attack and then broke with 'two-goal Schorah' at the apex and duly tumbled by an advancing goalie. The outcome was a penalty and an early bath for the keeper - I thought this a bit harsh but there ya go. Much debating failed to change matters, a Speckled Wood Butterfly flew by and seemed disinterested and carried on going even after Schorah easily buried the ball and grabbed his hat-trick.
I thought that was that until The Millers had one final thrust and won a penalty of their own. No 4 (Darren McKnight) stepped up and twatted home with a combination and frustration and infuriation. 1 - 3 and half time it was.
No movement was had for half-time, a chat with John D, a consideration of events thus far and a swill of some refreshing Elderflower and Apple pop did the trick. The weather was unseasonably clement, the warming of the planet continues apace - it looks like I will be getting more wear out of my Hilda Baker 'Street-Speedos' over the coming weeks watch out ye weak-kneed women.
Half two began in a settled manner. The travellers had a few minor thrusts but no great spunkage of success came. The Millers had a couple of punts at goal, McKnight banged a free-kick wide and then No 5 (Harry Norris) fed Tindall who touched on to No 7 (Adam Stuart) who disappointingly missed the target. I thought New Mills would go on from here with all conkers bared and throbbing for the challenge - not so. AFC Liverpool gained possession, were allowed to dwell on the ball and then thread an easy pass for Howell to latch onto and only have the keeper to beat, The ball left the foot and rolled homeward -1 - 4 - yes folks, game well and truly over.
The next purposeful advancement came from the guests, somehow a ragged home unit survived but things were looking mighty grim. The same scenario soon repeated itself (I beg your pardon), an easy run by Hardacre saw a pair of good feet used to progress and finish and add a touch of icing on a very overloaded cake. The game rolled on, K Schorah continued to be a perpetual problem for the Millers - a bit like having a crumb in one's undercrackers - no matter what one does it seems to remain elusive and cause much discomfort.
We entered the last 15 minutes, a gratis booting for the trailing pack was granted and executed. My touchline verdict of the bonus kick - utter dross. From here a a rather innocuous tackle was committed in the middle of the park and the red clad Howell was given his second yellow. A trifle unfair I thought but the letter of the law has never been any other way. The free-kick that followed saw a substitute's glabrous nut send the ball onto the post and waste an excellent opportunity to salvage a consolation. The final sputterings however saw a similar additional chance missed by the 5 goal getting pack and then, No 12 (Jack Wray) nut home with pure ease to give The Millers a final hoorah but no end triumph. 2 -5 was another score-line that I bet no-one predicted - this is why we are absorbed by Non-League methinks.
Before pissing off homeward I contemplated Man of the Match and opted for AFC Liverpool's No 10 (Callum Schorah) for the footballing brain on show, the constant questioning of his markers, some choice passing play and for a 90 minute spirited commitment - leading from the front, that is what it is all about.
FINAL THOUGHTS - New Mills were off it today and having the keeper sent off just doubled the teams woes. Sometimes the shit hits the fan, sometimes after hitting the fan it sprays all ways and leaves one without chance of escape - The Millers left the pitch today well and truly splattered and battered. The fact is though, they are better than this performance and will duly bounce back and get their just desserts. They have a league match coming up, it won't be easy but they have the capabilities to get things back on track - they just need to stay focused and positive. AFC Liverpool came, played their own game and did what needed doing. They are a controlled and stubborn unit that will give all and sundry a good run for their money. On today's stint I would describe them as 'efficient' and 'industrious' without being flamboyant and excessively eye-catching. There is an art-form in just getting the job done and this lot seem to have things sorted as regards that facet of the footballing game - I hope we can find time to see them in the next round and see if they can make a real good go of this FA Vase challenge.