City u18s smashed six past Elche’s youth team as they rounded off their trip to Murcia in some style.
Lukas Nmecha, Isaac Buckley and Zackarias Faour were all on the scoresheet as the young boys in blue put their opponents to the sword to run out 6-2 winners in the evening sunshine.
The locals and holidaymakers who made their way to the Pinatar Arena were treated to a glimpse of City’s attacking talent, as well as the ruthless streak this side displays in front of goal that bodes well for the season ahead.
It was a very youthful XI that took to the field for City’s second pre-season friendly at u18 level, with seven of the starters drawn from the group that signed as first year scholars at the start of this month.
Second year Isaac Buckley was handed the responsibility of the captain’s armband, while keeper Charlie Albinson and defender Callum Bullock were the other senior members named from the start.
Six goals in his last appearance were sufficient for Lukas Nmecha to keep his starting place, although it was a very fluid front three that interchanged freely, aided by Zackarias Faour as a rolling sub.
After scoring ten against Murcia on Saturday, Wilcox’s men picked up where they left off and were ahead inside the first two minutes. Some committed pressing from the front three put pressure on the Elche defence, and the trialist capitalised with a sweet finish.
City dominated the early 20 minutes in terms of possession but struggled to convert that into clear-cut opportunities in the six yard box. However, their patient build-up from the back up was finally rewarded right on the whistle of the first 20 minutes.
Elche’s keeper was unable to deal with a dangerous free kick into the box from Will Patching, and after some confusion Nmecha was on hand to capitalise and poke home from close range.
At the other end, the Spanish side’s clearest chance came after half an hour, when a dangerous set piece whipped across the box but somehow managed to evade everyone.
Still City came at their opponents, probing for more goals and seeking to entertain the assembled spectators. Nmecha came close to doubling his tally for the evening- releasing his shot after a mazey run that left his opposite number in a tizzy but he fired wide of the near stick.
Before the half time whistle was blown it was three, as Isaac Buckley was rewarded for his tireless running with a tap in, set up by a beautiful cross from Dumeaco Duhaney, who constantly looked to get forward from right back and feed his grateful forwards.
The strikers were sharing the goals around and it was Faour’s turn next, the Swede displaying all his predatory instincts to follow in after Josh Murray’s shot was blocked by the keeper.
It might have been five as City showed off their embarrassment of striking riches by bringing on Joe Hardy to fill the right wing slot, and the youngster was desperately unlucky not to add his name to the scoresheet with a long range drive that the keeper did superbly to tip over the top at full stretch.
The opponents in green rarely threatened the goal guarded in turns by Charlie Albinson and Daniel Grimshaw, but they did get one back midway through the third period of 20 minutes. With both teams jostling ahead of a free kick, the referee spotted some apparent elbowing and pointed to the spot – there was nothing Grimshaw could do to keep out the perfectly placed penalty that followed.
Nmecha added City’s fifth and his eighth goal in two games just over 10 minutes later, but this time Elche’s reply was almost immediate, this time stemming from a defensive mix-up from which the centre forward took full advantage.
Patching and Nmecha both had good opportunities before Faour extended the lead back to four with a fantastic free kick that swerved round the wall and found the corner before the keeper had even moved.
Jason Wilcox will be pleased with the efforts shown by his young side throughout pre-season on the Spanish coast, with the work ethic remaining high despite searing heat. A second positive result in three days, with 16 goals scored across the two games will give this side confidence as they head back to England and continue preparations with a third friendly against Rhyl on Tuesday.
CITY: Albinson, Bullock, Coveney, Kigbu, Blackshaw, Davenport, Diallo, Patching, Trialist, Nmecha, Buckley.