MARCUS HAHNEMANN showed that Tim Howard isn’t the only experienced American shot stopper at Everton FC this season as he held Liverpool FC reserves at bay in the mini Merseyside derby.
The 39-year-old, who has been to two World Cups with the USA, produced a string of excellent blocks to earn Everton Reserves a point in the mini derby clash at Liverpool’s Kirkby Academy yesterday afternoon.
Apostolos Vellios headed Everton into a second half lead from Seamus Coleman’s cross, but livewire winger Raheem Sterling levelled 15 minutes from time.
Hahnemann wasn’t the oldest veteran on show, however. That role went to 41-year-old David Weir, appointed to the Blues backroom staff yesterday and instantly plunged into reserve team action.
Both veterans were spectators in the early stages as the visitors started impressively.
Magaye Gueye had already scorched the side netting by the time Coleman’s venomous shot forced a panicky clearance from Brad Jones in the Liverpool goal.
Set-pieces, in particular, caused the hosts problems and Eric Dier should have opened the scoring from Gueye’s corner.
Liverpool bounced back from that let-off and began to trouble Hahnemann regularly.
Twice in quick succession he swooped to thwart Nathan Eccleston and Sterling, then early in the second half impressive Liverpool youngster Jesus Fernandez fired low at the American.
Everton took the lead from their best move of the match.
Ross Barkley collected the ball deep and surged into Liverpool territory, playing a crisp give and go with Jose Baxter before firing a raking pass wide for Coleman.
The Irish international crossed first time to find Vellios high above the Liverpool defence and perfectly placed to head beyond the helpless keeper.
Liverpool responded by switching the pacy Nathan Eccleston to the left flank and began to threaten more and more on the counter attack.
And it was from precisely that source that they found their leveller as Eccleston sped down the flank and crossed for Sterling to volley home from just inside the box.
It was a deserved equaliser and, while the Reds had the better chances to win it late on, the Blues left with a point their general play merited.
by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo