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City u18s secure late triumph over Duns

City u18s continued their flawless pre-season record with a third win on the bounce against Duns FC in the Scottish evening sunshine.

A first half goal from Callum Bullock was cancelled out by the hosts with six minutes remaining, but City conjured up a late strike to make it three wins out of three as this young squad continues to gel.

Academy Director, Mark Allen said: “This was a really good opportunity for the boys to play in front of a bigger crowd than they’re used to, 500-600 spectators were here tonight, and they all acquitted themselves very well.

“But it was also a chance for the club to give something back to grassroots football, as we were here to help Duns FC open their new ground, so that was a really good experience as well.”

City were in town to mark the grand opening of New Hawthorn Park, the club’s new home named after the original ground which last hosted a game in 1974.

Jason Wilcox’s men prepared for this encounter north of the border with a ten day training camp in Croatia alongside Patrick Vieira’s EDS squad, and local spectators were treated to hatful of goals as City scored nine and conceded just once in the two friendly matches.

HNK Gorica were hit for six, while a tougher test against FC Cukaricki still yielded a 3-1 victory courtesy of goals from Zackarias Faour, Tom Holland and Isaac Buckley.

But after the goal glut on the continent, Wilcox was after a more physical test for his young charges ahead of competitive football resuming next month, and this proved the perfect occasion as Duns sent out their first team to take on the Blues.

With as many as 11 of last year’s squad making the leap to the EDS, the vast majority of the u18 squad is comprised of first year scholars, and a team of mainly 16-year-olds was required to move the ball quickly and accurately to triumph over an adult team who had the edge in physical stature and experience.

City took the lead through some neat combination play on the edge of their opponents' box and Bullock was on hand to apply the finish.

The boy Blues were able to repel the advances of the Dingers until the 84th minute, when Michael Robinson found the net to the delight of the local supporters and looked to have given the Scots a memorable draw.

However, Wilcox will have been pleased with the character of his squad as they regrouped and kept faith in their style of play in their search for a second goal.

They were rewarded just four minutes later, when pint-sized playmaker David Brooks played through an inch-perfect through ball that cut the defence apart, and a trialist stroked the ball home.

It was an excellent work out for the team, and they will look to continue their winning ways when they take on Celtic on Tuesday.

Kick off is at 12pm BST and we’ll have a report on mcfc.co.uk after the game.

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