EDS & Academy

Nmecha penalty rescues point for U18s at Stoke

Nmecha penalty rescues point for U18s at Stoke
Premier League U18 Cup
Premier League U18 Cup
Thu 14 Mar
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Felix Nmecha’s second half penalty salvaged a point for Manchester City in a keenly fought U18 Premier League encounter against Stoke City.

With a swirling wind and snow falling it was a game played in tough conditions that either side will feel they could have won, but in the end, City were left grateful to Nmecha, who coolly levelled the scores after Venacio Da Silva’s stunning first half opener.

What happened

Da Silva lit up what was a fairly uneventful first half with a sumptuous strike from 25 yards that sailed into the top right corner.

Picking up a loose ball, the Portuguese midfield showed class to take advantage of the space and despatched a curling effort over City ‘keeper Tom Scott’s head, but that was one of few real chances early on.

Jacob Twyford fired over from the edge of the area after five minutes to give City notice of the host’s attacking intent, but Da Silva’s effort aside, Scott was rarely troubled with much of the game played in midfield.

City were getting most joy down the left hand side as full-back Ryan Corrigan linked up effectively with Keke Simmonds and Nabil Touaizi and it was the former who had our only real chance of note.

Cutting inside immediately after Stoke had taken the lead, Simmonds fired straight at Josef Bursik in the Potters’ goal.

Both teams improved after the break as conditions worsened and snow settled on the pitch.

City in particular offered more going forward and might have equalised earlier when Corrigan’s left-wing cross almost caught Bursik out and the Potters’ keeper nearly suffered a similar fate as his clearance fell to Eric Garcia, whose speculative lob from the half-way line crept just past the post.

With just over 20 minutes remaining, Gareth Taylor introduced Reece Devine and Henri Ogunby from the bench and the pair combined to win the City penalty.

Ogunby’s centre looked to have found Devine, who was felled by a Stoke defender and Nmecha calmly sent the resulting spot-kick into the bottom left corner.

Equally as determined to win the game, both sides had chances late on, the best of which fell to Jeremie Frimpong who forced a good save from Bursik with a fierce 18-yard drive.

Though City were largely the aggressors, Stoke had chances of their own and Scott produced a fine save to deny James Jennings, who later combined well with Twyford only for the midfielder to fire over from a difficult angle.

How we lined up

Taylor made six changes to the side that started in the 1-0 defeat to Sunderland last month.

Scott was in goal and protected by a back four of Alpha Diounkou, Garcia, Sammy Robinson and Corrigan.

Rowan McDonald anchored midfield, with Nmecha and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru just ahead of him.

Touaizi was the central striker with Frimpong and Simmonds operating on either flank.

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