EDS & Academy

u18s 0 Bolton 0

u18s 0 Bolton 0
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Sat 21 Feb
City u18s were forced to settle for a point after playing out a stalemate with Bolton at a freezing CFA.

Jason Wilcox’s young side dominated possession and created the best of the chances but were unable to find a way through a resolute Bolton side that were largely content to sit back and play on the counterattack.

Manu Garcia had a goal disallowed for offside late on as the young blues kept pushing for the winner right to the final whistle, but it was not to be and the spoils were shared.

City were aiming to return to winning ways after going down 2-0 to Wolves in midweek. With just three fixtures left in the first stage of the u18 Academy League, Wilcox’s men were fighting to ensure a coveted spot in the top tier when the teams are sliced up into three different divisions depending on position in March.

An enviable run of form earlier on in the campaign left City in third ahead of kick off and with only four places available in the North League for the top division there was plenty to play for in this clash with the Trotters.

The two sides last faced off last November, when a thoroughly dominant display full of attacking verve saw City run out 7-0 victors. On that occasion, Denzeil Boadu scored a hattrick and grabbed a further two assists as he ran riot on his return from injury.

Boadu played for the u21s in Norwich on Wednesday night and was therefore not included this time around as Wilcox made just two chances from the XI that started against Wolves.

Paolo Fernandes took up the number nine shirt as Aaron Nemane moved back to the right wing, while Martin Samuelsen was selected in the number 10 position as Zackarias Faour dropped to the bench.  

It was all City in the opening stages and Aaron Nemane, who scored two against Bolton last time, returned to terrorise his full back in the opening five minutes, tricking and teasing before pulling off a cross that just evaded the lurking Dilrosun.

Fernandes was unlucky to see his looping header fly into the gloves of keeper Dorrington after a fantastic ball from Charlie Oliver, while Callum Bullock’s effort sailed wide as City sought an early advantage.

Tattum and Dilrosun linked up well on the left and it was the latter who drew the first really good save from Dorrington after great work from Fernandes. Skipper Tattum was next to test the defence, running nearly the full length of the field before pulling the ball back into a crowded area, when the keeper was forced to make two good stops before Dilrosun’s follow-up was wayward.

However, despite dominating the ball in the opening 45 minutes City were nearly caught out right on the stroke of half time when Kjetil Haug was called into action to gather low down after a great chance for the striker.

It was a rare foray into the City penalty box for the visitors as the back line held firm to repel the majority of the opposition attacks before the ball could reach Haug between the posts. 

Emerging reinvigorated after the break , Dilrosun might have done better within a minute of the restart when he poked Bullock’s good cross wide of the far stick, while at the other end Bolton’s penalty shouts were waved away as Will Abbotts had the ball robbed by Humphreys while bearing down on goal.

Martin Samuelsen’s spectacular curling effort was heading for the top corner without Dorrington’s punched intervention while Garcia nearly caught the keeper out with a long range shot that the visitors were relieved to see drift harmlessly wide as the blues surged forward repeatedly in search of the breakthrough.

Dilrosun and Fernandes both had good chances to open the scoring before Manu Garcia finally found the back of the net with fewer than 10 minutes left on the clock, but City’s celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s offside flag.

Chaos reigned for a number of minutes as the referee first awarded the Trotters the ball before bringing the play back for a City free kick but unfortunately the set piece came to nothing and City resumed their attack on the Wanderers’ goal.

The boys in blue maintained pressure throughout the late stages and might have had a penalty when Oliver tumbled over in the box at a corner but it was not to be and the final whistle blew too soon for the frustrated young blues and Wilcox.

City are next in action on Wednesday afternoon away to Newcastle.

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