Manchester City tasted Under 18 Premier League Cup final glory for a second successive season as we hit Stoke for six at the Academy Stadium.

After Sam Edozie’s deflected strike gave us a first half lead, City turned on the style after the break scoring five more – including a four-goal blast in nine minutes.

Liam Delap capped a stunning individual display with a wonder goal with the equally impressive James McAtee and skipper Cole Palmer both weighing in with a brace apiece.

The final scoreline was a tad harsh on the visitors who proved tough opponents for the opening 60 minutes.

But Gareth Taylor’s side were a joy to watch and the full-time whistle sparked scenes of celebration and joy amongst the players after a superb campaign that saw us retain the trophy in fine fashion.

What happened

It proved to be a compelling, absorbing contest, befitting the occasion, with two talented sides providing a contrast in styles.


                        GET IN: Sam Edozie's shot is deflected by Cole Palmer to give City the lead
GET IN: Sam Edozie's shot is deflected by Cole Palmer to give City the lead

The final saw Stoke blending a high press and physicality to powerful effect against City’s vibrant, possession-based football.

The visitors settled first with a second minute Adam Porter corner causing mayhem in the City box before Joe Hodge scrambled behind.

From the follow up there was yet more panic as Andre Godfrinne lashed over from close range.

Gradually however, Taylor’s young charges found their feet with Edozie and fellow winger Oscar Bobb dangerous on either wins, James McAtee’s technical prowess catching the eye and Liam Delap a constant menace upfront.

On 13 minutes a searing run from Bobb saw the youngster cut inside only for his cross-cum shot was blocked by Stoke keeper Nathan Broome before Edozie’s instant return was sent wide by skipper Cole Palmer.

City’s growing pressure almost paid off 10 minutes later as a teasing Sammy Robinson cross saw Delap’s powerful header smash back off the bar.

There was then a scare at the other end as home keeper Cieran Slicker was almost robbed on the line by Stoke striker Mohamed Sankoh.

But City’s persistence was finally rewarded on 39 minutes as we made the all-important breakthrough.


                        SQUAD GOALS: The City players celebrate after Sam Edozie's opener against Stoke
SQUAD GOALS: The City players celebrate after Sam Edozie's opener against Stoke

Edozie’s teasing run on the edge of the box opened up a fraction of space and his shot was deflected off Palmer into the right corner of the net to leave the Stoke keeper no chance.

The visitors then almost hit back instantly, and it needed a crucial goal-saving block by Slicker from outside his box to deny Godfrinne after the Stoke striker had evaded CJ Egan-Riley.

Stoke came out with an extra spring in their step and the visitors – backed by a noisy travelling contingent of fans - almost restored parity straight after the restart, the powerful Sakho sending a curling shot narrowly wide.

City then almost doubled our lead. Delap’s power saw him cut a swathe through the Potters defence only for his goal bound shot to be deflected wide before Slicker then gathered Porter’s stinging shot.

That man Delap ripped through the Potters defence once again on 57 minutes finding McAtee only for desperate defending to deny City a crucial second.

Delap through was not to be denied and a moment of magic from the striker saw City take a decisive grip on the game on 64 minutes

Delap’s power and pace saw him slalom round the Stoke defence and – just when it looked as if he had gone too wide - he showed the presence of mind to drill a shot past Broome into the corner of the net.

It was a quite stunning goal and one worthy of winning any cup final.


                        WHAT A FINISH: Liam Delap rounds off a stunning piece of play to score City's second
WHAT A FINISH: Liam Delap rounds off a stunning piece of play to score City's second

Two minutes later the deal was effectively sealed as McAtee showed the presence of mind to chase down a Broome miscue and fire home.

With the shackles off, McAtee claimed his second and City’s fourth two minutes later, procuring a stunning chip from Palmer’s exquisite through ball.

And it was high fives moments later, Palmer receiving just reward for his sterling display as he cut inside before lashing home a powerful shot.

With City now dominant, we were awarded a 77th minute penalty after Delap was upended and Palmer made no mistake from the spot.

How we lined up

Cieran Slicker was in goal shielded by a back four of Sammy Robinson, Finley Burns, CJ Egan-Riley and Josh Wilson-Esbrand. Joe Hodge was the midfield anchor with James McAtee and Cole Palmer also in the engine room. Liam Delap was the striking spearhead with Oscar Bobb and Sam Edozie deployed on either wing.

What’s next

City are back in Premier League Under 18 North action on Saturday when we travel to take on Wolves.

Kick-off at the Sir Jack Hayward Training Centre is 12pm.


                        DREAM TEAM: Goalscorers Liam Delap and James McAtee get the party started
DREAM TEAM: Goalscorers Liam Delap and James McAtee get the party started