EDS & Academy

City u18s earn a point in Manchester derby

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Sat 5 Oct
City u18s had to settle for a point in the Manchester derby at Platt Lane.

Despite taking an early lead through Daniel Lema, a second goal proved elusive and United were able to snatch a late equaliser from the spot.

For this first mini-derby of the season, Jason Wilcox selected a strong side, including Angelino, Ash Smith-Brown and Jack Byrne, who all started for the EDS against Bayern Munich in midweek.

Jack Byrne

It was a young centre-back pairing – both Tosin Adarabioyo and Charlie Oliver are still eligible for the u16 age group, but both have experience at this level.

City were aiming to arrest a run of three straight losses in this local encounter, after recording defeats to three teams from the Southern Division in Fulham, Reading and Spurs.

The sky Blues began brightly and opened the scoring with their first real attack of the match, Lema finding the bottom corner from Kean Bryan's cross. 

Although City were building excellent pressure on the United goal and forced a number of corners and freekicks in quick succession, they struggled to create many clear cut opportunities in the opening 20 minutes.

City made their dominance felt in possession and territory, restricting the visitors to just one real chance, when the ball eventually found it’s way into the back of the net from a freekick but was ruled out for offside.

Immediately fired up, the young Blues piled forward. Kean Bryan and Brandon Barker both fired shots over the bar, and Jorge Intima’s ball in fizzed across the box after Lema had a shot blocked.

Wilcox’s young charges might have had a penalty themselves ten minutes before the interval after Intima was felled in the area by Barber, but the referee overruled the flagging linesman.

The only dark spot of a half in which City had put some good moves together and looked the only team likely to score was an injury to young right back, Pablo Maffeo, who had to leave the field on a stretcher just before the break.

Scenes took a rather bizarre turn in the second period, as the youngsters were joined by a religious procession to the side of the pitch complete with bagpipes. The parade stopped by the side of the pitch for a few minutes, perhaps entertained by the quality of football on display!

On the field, Maffeo’s replacement, James Horsfield took his place in the centre of the park with Smith-Brown heading to right back in a tactical reshuffle as City aimed to continue where they left off in the first period.

Although the tempo remained high, the chances were not as forthcoming. Intima found the sidenetting and the United keeper was forced into an excellent low save from Lema at close range, while Sean Goss smacked the ball against the post for the visitors.

It was those in sky blue shirts that continued to enjoy the best of the possession though, and Brandon Barker saw his free kick gratefully seized by the keeper and the winger also sent a chip over the top.

Pablo Maffeo

Thierry Ambrose emerged from the bench and was desperately unlucky to slide the ball just wide of the post after creating good space for himself, while the United no.1 made a spectacular save from Bryan’s effort as City desperately tried to translate their dominance into a second goal.

Instead, a sucker punch arrived as the referee awarded a penalty for the visitors after Angelino was adjudged to have fouled Mitchell. Josh Harrop sent Billy O’Brien the wrong way to level the scores with just two minutes left on the clock.

In a frenetic finish, Oliver headed over the bar while O’Brien made a brilliant low stop to preserve a point.

Next up for the u18s is a trip to Newcastle on 19 October.

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