EDS & Academy

U18s' title hopes end in derby defeat

U18s' title hopes end in derby defeat
Premier League U18 Cup
Premier League U18 Cup
Thu 14 Mar
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Manchester City’s U18 Premier League title aspirations have ended with a 2-1 Manchester derby defeat.

In a must win game, we were undone by two spells of dominance early in each half, with Nishan Burkart and Ethan Galbraith scoring either side of Brandon Williams own goal.

Victory saw United crowned champions and while they were good value for their win, the young Blues were left ruing a couple of missed opportunities and the lack of a telling pass when on top.

What happened

There will be some frustration for City at the manner of Burkart’s opener, with a long ball evading Nathanael Ogbeta, before the right winger rode Ryan Corrigan’s saving tackle and slotted into the bottom left corner.

The game settled after that.

United were controlling possession and Curtis Anderson was forced into a couple of smart saves as we struggled to gain a foothold in the game.

But on the half hour mark, we came to life, with the tireless Tommy Doyle and Felix Nmecha the driving forces in midfield.

It was the latter, with his uncanny ability to pop-up in the pocket of space between midfield and defence, who came closest to an equaliser.

A curling free-kick hit the side netting, before Nmecha took on the ambitious with a volley from the edge of the area that forced a good save from Matej Kovar.

And Doyle might have beaten the United ‘keeper, if not for a deflection which curtailed his hopes of the spectacular after a driving run and shot from 20 yards.

The Reds were still in the game, however, and Mason Greenwood fired a warning with a jinking run, before firing wide and then we had our best chance of the game.

Twisting and turning in the penalty area, Nmecha left one defender on the floor only to see his close-range effort cannon back off the post as the hosts went in ahead at the break.

In much the same way as the first 45 minutes, United started the second half strongly.

And they made their dominance pay on the hour mark as Ethan Galbraith rifled a fierce effort beyond the helpless Anderson from the edge of the area.

City’s response was instant.

It came in rather fortuitous circumstances as Doyle’s corner was headed into the net by Reds’ left-back Brandon Williams but Taylor’s youngsters failed to kick-on as the home side managed the game effectively.

In Burkart and D’Mani Mellor they had two players who occupied the City back-line even as their team-mates dropped a little deeper in order to preserve the lead.

And it worked.

It was not for lack of effort as Nmecha continue to probe and Jeremie Frimpong provided pace down the right, but City struggled to create any chances of note as they sought a much-needed equaliser.

The stretching Keyendrah Simmonds couldn’t quite connect with Frimpong’s cross and Nabil Touaizi, presented with a rare chance, shot wide from 10 yards as the tension mounted.

With United camped in the own half for the final five minutes a speculative Doyle effort was the best City could muster and the Reds held on to claim the win and with it the U18 Premier League title.

How we lined up

Taylor made four changes to the side that eased to a 5-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers in midweek, with Anderson, Nathanael Ogbeta, Doyle and Nabil Touaizi returning to the starting line-up.

Keeper Anderson was behind a back four of Frimpong, Eric Garcia, Ogbeta and Corrigan.

Rowan McDonald anchored midfield, with Doyle and Nmecha just head of him, while Henri Ogunby and Simmonds operated on the right and left flank respectively.

Touaizi was the lone striker.

What it means

Second place is the best City can achieve with United now 15 points ahead with only nine left to play for.

Up next

We can get back to winning ways next Saturday, with Derby County the visitors to the City Football Academy for a 12pm kick-off.

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