Football: Reds suffer black-out

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The Independent Online
Bristol City. . 1

Allison 39

Liverpool. . . .1

Rush 12

Att: 20,617; match abandoned 65min

THEY had feared an FA Cup shock in Liverpool and yesterday it duly arrived. Except the shock was of the electrical, rather than the result, variety. This match was abandoned with 25 minutes remaining when the Ashton Gate floodlights flickered and died.

All day, the referee, Martin Bodenham, had been looking anxiously upwards. But the deluge that could have jeopardised the match did not come - instead, the main fuse went. The tie will be replayed, subject to Football Association approval, on 19 January.

Ian Rush put Liverpool ahead after 11 minutes with what would have been his 40th goal in the competition. It was a goal that recalled Liverpool's great days, with John Barnes and Rush playing integral parts.

The ball was rushed down the field by Nigel Clough and Jamie Redknapp before Barnes was found on the right flank. The England winger teased Martin Scott before heading down the byline then pulling the ball back to the six-yard box. Rush side-footed in with aplomb.

Despite City being curiously reluctant to hustle the Liverpool players in the first 30 minutes, the nearest the visitors came to adding to their score came in a fashion that was more farce than football. The goalkeeper, Keith Welch, made a complete hash of a clearance and thumped it against Robbie Fowler. The ball looped over the goalkeeper and rolled slowly against the post before he could cover his embarrassment by clearing the ball.

This escape had a galvanising effect on Bristol. Wayne Allison twice beat Neil Ruddock and flicked the ball on for Liam Robinson. Both times Grobbelaar saved, the second with an excellent lunge to his left. But the Liverpool veteran was powerless when Scott crossed on the left and Allison headed in at the near post in the 39th minute.