City Under-18s picked up our sixth consecutive win following a 4-2 victory over Newcastle United in our latest Under-18 Premier League North assignment.

Luca Fletcher, a striker in form, gave City the lead from close range just after the opening 20 minutes before doubling our advantage on the brink of half-time.

Goals from former Blue Alfie Harrison and Darren Palmer put pressure on City with just over 20 minutes left to play. 

Ashton Muir converted from almost an impossible angle to put City back in front before substitute Matty Warhurst added his name to the scoresheet to top off a thrilling encounter in Manchester. 

WHAT HAPPENED

The mesmerising red, orange and purple sunset that engulfed the Manchester skyline was gone by the time City and Newcastle took to the City Football Academy pitch.

Under the bright lights, Newcastle looked to start the game the quickest. A quick and high press without the ball matched with a quick tiki-taka play style with the ball tested how alert City was in the opening minutes.

City remained un-phased by the visitors and their energetic start as City looked to calm the game by controlling the ball.

Ashton Muir was handed City’s first chance after Newcastle’s left-back misjudged the through ball in the 10th minute. The winger drove towards the visitor’s net but dragged his shot across the face of the goal and past the left post.

Another through ball to the right side by Divine Mukasa, this time to Dan Batty, allowed the quick box-to-box midfielder to open up his body and unleash an outside-of-the-boot right footed shot which, like Muir’s earlier attempt, drifted wide of the left post.

After more end-to-end football, it was City who finally broke the deadlock on 21 minutes.

Muir regained possession in Newcastle’s third and carried the ball towards the byline. His pass into the feet of Fletcher allowed the number nine to find space through a 360-degree spin before placing the ball into the bottom right corner.

A low stinging strike into the centre of the goal by Trevan Sanusi was smothered by Spike Brits in the 29th minute as Newcastle tried to rebuild their confidence and prove they could still pose a threat. 

PULLING THE STRINGS : Dan Batty looks to begin another City attack.
PULLING THE STRINGS : Dan Batty looks to begin another City attack.

Fletcher was unselfish as he was played through on the left and showcased his electric speed.

Instead of trying to complete his hat-trick, he played the ball into the path of an on-running Mukasa who was unfortunate to see his goal-bound strike saved on the 57th minute.

At the opposite end of the pitch moments later, a familiar face in Alfie Harrison, who signed for Newcastle on deadline day earlier this year, curled an effort onto the right post before it ricocheted away from City’s goal.

Alfie Harrison needed one chance to correct his previous error as he converted from a similar chance just after the hour mark to put his former team-mates under pressure.

SKIPPER : Kian Noble battled hard against Newcastle.
SKIPPER : Kian Noble battled hard against Newcastle.

And that pressure mounted further as Darren Palmer scored Newcastle’s second after City failed to get the ball away from Brits’ goal with just over 20 minutes left to play. 

After a short spell of City on the back foot, Wilkinson’s side looked to turn the tide. And it took just one dangerous chance to regain our lead.

Muir converted from almost the byline after keeper Aidan Harris failed to collect the ball leaving the goal mouth open for Muir to slot the ball home with 10 minutes left to play.

There was still a nervous feeling in the air as we entered the final few minutes with Newcastle still prodding and poking around the City box.

But one of City’s Under-18s top scorers of the season, Matty Warhurst, bagged a sublime strike on the brink of full-time to secure another vital three points for City.

MIGHTY MUIR : Ashton Muir puts City back ahead.
MIGHTY MUIR : Ashton Muir puts City back ahead.

HOW WE LINED UP

Spike Brits was enlisted as City’s number one and was protected by a back four of Brooklyn Nfonkeu, Leke Drake, Kian Noble and Seb Naylor.

In the heart of City’s line-up, our midfield trio of Femi Fapetu, Divine Mukasa and Dan Batty harmonised a perfect balance of defensive cover and wide options.

Leading City’s attacking line, in-form Luca Fletcher was looking to get his name on the score sheet again following his brace at Liverpool. Either side of him, Ashton Muir and Christian Dunbar-McDonald flaunted their pace and quick feet.

CITY XI | Brits, Nfonkeu (Alcala 71’), Drake (Alfa-Ruprecht 84’), Noble ©, Naylor, Fapetu, Muir, Batty, Fletcher (Warhurst 71’), Mukasa, Dunbar-McDonald (R. Heskey 77’)

SUBS | Hudson

NEWCASTLE XI | Harris, R. Powell ©, Charlton, H. Powell, Watts, Shahar (Munda 46’), Brayson, Palmer (Ferreira 81’), Neave, Alfie Harrison, Sanusi

SUBS | Craggs, Adam Harrison, Milmore

PARTY TIME : Matty Warhurst celebrates scoring City's fourth.
PARTY TIME : Matty Warhurst celebrates scoring City's fourth.

WHAT IT MEANS

The three points solidify our spot in second as we move seven points clear of third-placed Liverpool.

The victory over Newcastle also means we narrow the gap between us and league leaders Manchester United. City move 10 points behind with a game in hand and a total of nine league games left to play.

Premier League u18
1 Manchester United FC Manchester United Man United 22 19 2 1 74 24 50 59 LWWWW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 19 14 1 4 58 21 37 43 WWWLW
3 Derby County Derby 20 9 4 7 47 42 5 31 WWLDW
Last updated: 17 April 2024

WHAT’S NEXT

City turn our attention to the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup.

We welcome Tottenham Hotspur to the Joie Stadium on Saturday 24 February with kick-off scheduled for 13:00 (UK).

We will have a comprehensive match report plus reaction from the manager on mancity.com and the Official Man City App shortly after the game has concluded.

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