EDS & Academy

City U18s come from behind twice to earn point

Sinan Bytyqi
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Sat 23 Mar
City U18s extended their unbeaten league run to five games, coming from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough on Saturday afternoon.

A Sinan Bytyqi penalty and a good finish from Brandon Barker brought the Blues a point in tricky conditions.

Vicious winds and constantly falling snow made it seem more like mid-January at Platt Lane than the first week of Spring, and it was extremely difficult to judge the flight of the ball.

James Horsfield

The team were halfway to Middlesbrough two weeks ago before the game was called off, but have met at Platt Lane before during this campaign, when a late Louis Hutton free kick snatched a point.  

City were victims of a late equaliser themselves against Norwich last time out, but were aiming to preserve an unbeaten league record that goes back to 9 February.

Boro started the fixture without a league win in 2013, but did record a solid 1-1 draw away at Arsenal last weekend.

It was a much-changed side that took the field this week, with international commitments forcing Adam Sadler into a number of changes.

Angus Gunn, Kean Bryan and Ashley Smith-Brown are all away representing the Three Lions at U17 level, and Tosin Adarabioyo is part of the England U16 squad for the Montaigu tournament.

Goalkeeper Ian Lawlor is with Ireland, which meant a chance between the sticks for Charlie Albinson.

Sadik El Fitouri, Sam Jones, George Glendon, Sinan Bytyqi and Jose Angelino all came in to the starting XI, and there were places on the bench for U18s regulars Joe Nuttall and Dom McHale.

City might have been ahead inside 3 minutes. The wind played havoc with El Fitouri’s shot from outside the area, which the goalkeeper looked to have knocked behind the line as he attempted to collect.

The referee didn’t give it though, and it was the visitors who took the lead on 13 minutes, Jimmy Warnett connecting with a good cross to finish past Albinson.

Chances were few in the first half, although the Blues did create a few good openings. James Horsfield fired over from the edge of the box and Barker slid the ball wide on the half hour.

Sinan Bytyqi

Dom McHale’s arrival after the break reinvigorated the attack, the winger combining with Angelino and Bytyqi to apply some sustained pressure.

The first equaliser arrived from that combination, with Angelino sent tumbling just inside the area and Bytyqi converting the penalty, which zipped into the corner despite the best efforts of the keeper’s outstretched hand.

Boro’s goal just four minutes later might have knocked the wind out of the side’s sails. Albinson came out to meet the ball but was left grasping at thin air as Mcalloon rounded him to smack the ball into an empty net.

But City refused to be beaten and swept forward themselves. Their endeavour was rewarded after 70 minutes, when a quick free kick left Barker all alone to gleefully tuck the ball home.

Brandon Barker

A late block from Nathaniel Oseni proved vital to preserve a point, deflecting the ball wide for a corner with virtually the last kick of the game.

Saturday’s game with Aston Villa has been postponed, so Adam Sadler’s men are next in action away at Arsenal on 13 April. 


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