EDS & Academy

City 4 Newcastle 1

City 4 Newcastle 1
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Sat 3 May
City u18s signed off the regular season in style, with a comfortable win over Newcastle before lifting the North Division trophy.

An early own goal, followed by strikes from Jorge Intima, Aaron Nemane and Ashley Smith-Brown ensured the young Blues ended on a high, before Paul Lake presented the well-deserved piece of silverware – just reward for an outstanding season that has yielded 73 goals.

The North Division title was sewn up with a game to spare, following last week’s impressive 4-0 thumping of Chelsea, but Jason Wilcox’s young side were aiming to go into the play-offs with maximum momentum – as well as protect an unbeaten streak dating back to the beginning of March.

Recent results in the Southern Division meant that a date with West Ham in the semi-final was already confirmed before the last round of fixtures, but thoughts were firmly focused on this encounter going into kick off.

City have already locked horns with the Magpies this season, and the Blues ran out 6-0 victors on Tyneside in October with a thoroughly magnificent performance that ended with six different names on the scoresheet.

For this return clash Wilcox named a strong line-up with just two changes from the side that defeated Chelsea so comfortably last time out – Aaron Nemane came in for the injured Brandon Barker while Angelino replaced Tosin Adarabioyo in defence.

The midfield trio of Jack Byrne, Denzeil Boadu and Kean Bryan were impressive throughout, controlling play and always seeking to put pressure on their opponents.

City burst out of the blocks and created a half chance within 60 seconds, Intima doing well to just keep the ball in and send it sizzling back across the six yard box, while Boadu had an ambitious shot from range.

The boy Blues played some brilliant football in the early stages and were rewarded with the opener ten minutes in, when a good cross from Angelino forced the Newcastle defender to turn the ball into his own net.

The hosts threatened once more, with Intima and Nemane seeing shots blocked before Newcastle  had a chance to get back on terms by winning a penalty with their first sight of the City goal, but Gilliead put his shot wide after sending Billy O’Brien the wrong way.

Heeding the let off, City went forward again and doubled their lead shortly afterwards, when the Magpies’ defender and keeper crashed into each other trying to deal with the marauding Intima, who rounded them to finish confidently into the corner despite the best attempts of those on the line.

The pace of the game slowed after a frenetic start, with City seeing the best of possession and restricting Newcastle to long range efforts. Intima had a shot saved at the near post, while O’Brien was called into action just before half time to pull off an acrobatic save from another attempt from distance.

The Blues made a triple substitution at the break which disrupted the rhythm somewhat, but youngster Isaac Buckley was rewarded for his excellent season with an u18s debut, and Horsfield joined the action for the second period.

Bryan became a makeshift centre back, while Smith-Brown headed to right back to accommodate the changes.

There were few clear chances for either side early in the second half, but Smith-Brown forced the keeper into a save while Oseni made an excellent block at the other end with Olomola bearing down on goal.

Boadu put a good chance over the bar before Nemane netted his third goal at this level just under 15 minutes from time, cutting inside before lifting the ball over Woolstom in the Newcastle goal.

Newcastle pulled one back with a header from a set piece, and might have had another from a similar situation shortly afterwards, while captain Smith-Brown was unlucky not to find the back of the net with a beautiful curling shot that just missed the target.

Smith-Brown finally added his name to the scoresheet with a fantastic solo effort in the dying seconds to round off another comfortable display and spark off the victory celebrations. 

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