City returned to Under 18 Premier League action with a vengeance as Gareth Taylor’s table-topping side secured a fine victory away at Stoke.

First half goals from skipper James McAtee and D’Margio Wright-Phillips gave the young Blues a two-goal half-time advantage at Clayton Wood.

And though Lewis Macari narrowed the deficit with a 66th minute effort, City roared back with further goals from Lewis Fiorini and Cole Palmer.

The late strikes secured a victory which sees City open up a five-point gap at the top of the table ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures.

What happened

Back in action after the October international break, City were seeking to build on a superb first two months of the season which had seen us record six wins out of seven games to lead the Under 18 North standings.

The early stages proved a cagey affair with both sides testing each other out before the young Blues seized control of the game with a two-goal salvo inside six minutes just after the half hour mark.

Skipper James McAtee made the all-important opening breakthrough on 33 minutes.

STRIKE ONE : Skipper James McAtee opened the scoring for the young Blues
STRIKE ONE : Skipper James McAtee opened the scoring for the young Blues

The all-action midfielder latched onto a fine through ball from Sam Edozie before finishing with aplomb.

City then stepped up the intensity again as we doubled our advantage on 39 minutes.

Edozie was again the provider and this time Wright-Phillips was the grateful recipient, the winger’s smart shot too much to handle for young Potters keeper Paul Cooper.

Stoke sought to summon up a response after the break and the hosts’ efforts were rewarded as they narrowed the deficit on 66 minutes.

Lewis Macari evaded the City defence and beat keeper Cieran Slicker to give the Potter renewed hope.

However, City were not to be denied and we secured the win with another two-goal blast inside the last 10 minutes.

ON THE MARK : Lewis Fiorini was also on target for the City youngsters
ON THE MARK : Lewis Fiorini was also on target for the City youngsters

First, Lewis Fiorni restored our two-goal advantage as he drilled home an 81st minute strike.

Substitute Cole Palmer then set the seal on the victory as he took advantage of more good work from McAtee to round off an excellent night’s work and maintain our impressive momentum.

How we lined up

Cieran Slicker was in goal shielded by a back four of Timi Sobowale, Kwaku Oduroh, Finley Burns and Oscar Tarensi. D’Margio Wright-Phillips, James McAtee, Alex Robertson and Lewis Fiorini lined up in midfield with Ben Knight and Sam Edozie deployed upfront.

What it means

The win sees City go five points clear at the top of the table from second-placed Liverpool who play on Saturday.

What’s next

Gareth Taylor’s Under-18s are next in action on Saturday, October 26th, when we travel to tackle Liverpool in our second Under 18 Premier League Cup group match. Kick-off on Merseyside is 11am.