The FA Youth Cup sponsored by E.On 2007/08 Semi Final 2nd Leg
Manchester City v Sunderland
Tuesday March 11, 2008, 7.00pm
The City of Manchester Stadium - Att: 3,228
Manchester City: Hartley, Trippier, McGivern, Boyata, Mee (c), Kay, Weiss, Tutte, Ball, Sturridge, McDermott.
unused subs: Nimely-Tchuimeni, Johansen, Ramsey, Tsiaklis, Mak.
Sunderland: Staples, Kay (R Noble 71), Liddle, L Noble, Cornforth, McArdle, Henderson, Colback (c), Hourihane, Waghorn, Luscombe (Hunter 80).
unused subs: Brown, Cook, Galer, Scott.
Goals: 0-1 (Henderson 15)
Sunderland: R Noble (82), Henderson (87), Colback (87), Hunter (87)
Referee: D Deadman
City are into the FA Youth Cup final - but only after a real scare. Sunderland took an early lead and looked the more confident side at times during the second leg, with City squandering several chances as well as looking nervous. But the Blues hung on with some resolute defending and they are now set to face either Chelsea or Aston Villa.
City named an unchanged side from the one that started last Thursday's first leg.
A rain squall just before 6.00pm had left patches of water on the pitch, but by kick off the weather had calmed down and we had a perfect night for football.
City looked comfortable from the off, having by far the most of the early play until they had the first good chance of the night on 13 minutes. McDermott’s free kick from the left of the box missed everyone before reaching Boyata, who possibly surprised to get the chance could not direct it past Staples.
But the sizeable home support was shocked when the visitors took the lead after a quarter of an hour. Jordan Henderson took aim from long range and his shot flew past Hartley’s left hand and into the top corner of the net. Most definitely game on!
With the goal rousing the fans, Weiss went on a jinking run just a minute later, and he was unlucky to see his low cross just elude the lurking Danny Sturridge in the six yard box.
Hartley kept the score at 0-1 on 25 minutes, making a fine stop with his feet from Jack Colback after the Sunderland striker had beaten the offside trap. The Blues put the pressure at the other end with a trio of corners, with the third just skimming Danny Sturridge’s head in a crowded area.
The highly-rated striker missed a great opportunity on 32 minutes after bursting into the area from the right hand flank. Shaping to get the ball onto his favoured left foot, he shot across the face of goal, but David Ball was free inside the area and he would have had a simple chance to score.
The pair combined well on 39 minutes, with Ball’s long crossfield pass finding Sturridge in space on the right of the area. With no blue shirts in the area, he could not be blamed for electing to shoot once again and his stabbed effort was just wide of the near post.
McDermott chipped over a tempting cross on 50 minutes that Sunderland keeper Staples took at the second attempt under pressure from David Ball. The City number nine was thwarted by Staples 60 seconds later, the keeper having raced out to the edge of the area to block after Ball had been put clean through.
City looked tentative, and on the hour goalscorer Henderson went close to levelling the tie, his left-footed volley just shaping away from the far post with Hartley beaten.
The home fans were getting tense, and two shots from Sturridge that were well wide of the target did not improve their mood.
We finally had a moment to remember with eight minutes left, when Danny Sturridge forced a good save from Staples after he had broken into the left of the area. The keeper’s parry fell to Kay, whose shot brought an even better save, this time a flying effort that deflected the ball over the bar.
As time began to run out for the visitors the game began to boil over, as Sunderland resorted to the physical approach from the first leg. They thought they were back on terms with just two minutes left when Colback fired home from the edge of the box, but the flag was up for offside to huge relief from City’s supporters, with three Sunderland players going in to the book for their protests.
After three minutes of stoppage time City were into the final, but Sunderland could count themselves unlucky on their display in the second leg.