EDS & Academy

Blues kick-off new season with thumping win

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Sat 16 Aug
City's under-18s secured the ideal start to the 2014/15 campaign with an impressive 4-1 win away to Blackburn Rovers.

Goals from Denzeil Boadu, Bersant Celina, Isaac Buckley and substitute Zacharias Faour earned a thumping victory for the boys in blue, ensuring their defence of the Premier League North Division title began on the perfect note.

On the back of a mixed pre-season, which began with three triumphs on the bounce before a less convincing run of one win in four, Jason Wilcox was keen for his side to rediscover last season's scintillating form.

He opted to field a defensive line-up of Sam Tattum, Cameron Humphreys, Nathaniel Oseni and Tosin Adarabioyo in front of shot-stopper Charlie Albinson - but in all honesty, the back line had very little to do, aside from a 15-minute spell at the start of the second half.

From the off, City were well in control and after the visitors had spurned a number of chances - most of them instigated by the instrumental pairing of Celina and Boadu - the away side finally broke the deadlock on 24 minutes.

With a trademark burst into the box, 17-year-old Boadu only had the goalkeeper to beat and made no mistake with the finish, slotting the ball coolly into the back of the net.

It was no more than City deserved and the Manchester outfit doubled their advantage less than ten minutes later.

Boadu was involved again; this time, he was upended on the edge of the box, which would become a frequent occurrence as Blackburn resorted to desperate measures in order to thwart him.

Referee Christopher Duckworth awarded the free-kick and up stepped Celina to fire an effort right into the corner to give Wilcox's side some breathing space.

With the away side is complete control and Rovers offering little in terms of attacking threat, there seemed to be no danger of City surrendering their lead.

In fact, the visitors could have been three clear before the break but were denied a stone-wall penalty, when Buckley was fouled in the area.

Despite City's domination, Blackburn's half-time team talk proved to have worked wonders as within two minutes, the hosts had halved the deficit.

City then had to endure a period of Rovers pressure as the hosts - buoyed by their strike - sought an equaliser. The home side pumped balls into the visitors' box but the defence held firm before Albinson was called into action to make what would prove to be a match-winning save.

From a point-blank header, the shot-stopper somehow prevented what looked to be a certain equaliser.

It was a real turning point in the game because just two minutes later, City restored their two-goal advantage, as Buckley, who netted twice in pre-season, latched on to a through-ball. Although the pass had strayed wider than intended, the striker still managed to find a sublime finish from a tight angle.

The three points were sealed on 67 minutes as Faour slid in the fourth, after Boadu had regained possession and sent the Swede clear.

With the result all but wrapped up for Wilcox's side, the game fizzled out in the final 20 minutes as the visitors were content to play keep-ball to see out a superb and well-deserved win.

Throughout the afternoon, City enjoyed the majority of possession and looked a threat from all angles.

Plus, as pleasing as the away side's attacking prowess proved to be, Wilcox will be just as delighted with the players' work rate off the ball.

Tom Holland's display was particularly impressive as the midfielder dictated the tempo of the game straight from the off.

It was a fine team performance to mark a brilliant day for the youngsters.

Should the boys in blue carry this form into next week's home clash with Sunderland, they will stand a strong chance of collecting another three points at Platt Lane.

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