Manchester City’s Under-18’s got our Under-18 Premier League campaign off to a flying start with a 6-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

After dominating possession for the opening 30 minutes, it was new squad member Matty Warhurst who scored City’s first goal of the 2023/24 season with his header finding the bottom corner five minutes later.

Blackburn showed signs of threatening the City goal but new centre-back pairing Kian Noble and Stephen Mfuni muted Rovers’ chances with ease.

A second-half hat-trick for Alfie Harrison - separated by goals for captain Jaden Heskey and Ashton Muir - highlighted City’s composure in the final third as Blackburn often found themselves pinned within their own half.

City’s high intensity in our opening game was rewarded with a clean sheet and three points to start our 2023/24 campaign strong.



It was clear Ben Wilkinson’s side wanted to dictate the tempo, showing signs of composure from the kick-off.  

And it didn’t take long for City to test Blackburn’s goalkeeper Nicholas Michalski who lost possession after being put under pressure by Warhurst.

While falling, Warhurst attempted to nudge the ball towards Blackburn’s empty goal but it was swept up by the Rovers’ defensive line.

And despite the grey skies, City’s youngsters continued to ignite bright sparks of quick passages of play, finding the most success down the left-hand side.

Five minutes after City’s first chance, Ashton Muir’s quick-fired cross was quickly pressed by City’s No 9 Luca Fletcher who collided with keeper Michalski who forced Fletcher to guide his shot wide.

Despite Michalski’s best efforts to stay on the pitch following the collision, Blackburn were forced into an early change with Adam Khan taking his place in the 13th minute.

The best chance of the game then fell to City’s new captain Jaden Heskey. Following impressive tiki-taka play by Muir and Seb Naylor, the latter’s pass into the box found Heskey whose first-time effort rattled the underside of the crossbar before bouncing away from the goal two minutes later.

While City continued to dominate possession, Blackburn looked organised. But City wouldn’t waiver from our style of quick passing, trusting that the system Wilkinson implemented would reap rewards.

And City’s determination paid off 10 minutes prior to half-time. Muir’s cross from the left was placed perfectly at the back post where Warhurst climbed highest to head the ball back across the goal and into the bottom left corner.

It was start as you mean to go on for City as the second half got underway.

Wilkinson’s youngsters knew the importance behind finding the first goal of the second 45 and it didn’t take us long to extend our lead.

Alfie Harrison, spending his second season under Wilkinson’s leadership, showed his composure as he placed the ball into the opposing corner of the goal in the opening three minutes.

Blackburn turned their frustration into a more positive spell of possession for a handful of minutes following City’s second.

City goalkeeper Spike Brits tipped the initial shot by Blackburn captain Paul Murphy-Worrell but the loose ball fell to Jospeh Boggan at the far post.

His first-time hit was misguided as Blackburn’s best chance of the game couldn’t halve the deficit.  

Not long after, Harrison’s quick feet at the opposite end of the pitch gave him space to score his second of the match just past the hour mark.

After a flurry of substitutes in which Harrison Parker, Matthew Henderson-Hall, Dan Batty and Femi Fapetu took to the pitch, the tempo slowed slightly while they settled into the game.

But that didn’t stop Wilkinson’s side from seeking to find more success in front of Blackburn’s goal.

Henderson-Hall’s speed on the right allowed him to slide the ball into the centre for Heskey to slot the ball home with ease.

With Blackburn looking tired and struggling to get out of their own half, our youngsters continued to thrive with possession.  

Muir’s confident drive into the box - following a sublime through ball by Kian Noble - ended with his clinical shot in the back of the net to make it five.

Moments later Muir turned provider once again as his cross towards the back post was headed home in style by Harrison to complete his hat-trick. 


Spike Brits started in between the sticks with a back line of Ezra Carrington, Kian Noble, Stephen Mfuni and Seb Naylor. 

In front of them, Charlie Gray shielded the defensive line with Alfie Harrison and captain Jaden Heskey padding out the midfield. 

On the wings, Matty Warhurst and Ashton Muir provided width. 

And leading from the front, Luca Fletcher completed Wilkinson’s line-up. 

Manchester City Under-18s

XI | Brits, Carrington, Noble, Mfuni, Naylor, Gray, Warhurst, Heskey (C), Fletcher, Harrison, Muir

SUBS | Parker, Hudson, Henderson-Hall, Batty, Fapetu

Blackburn Rovers Under-18s

XI | Michalski, Murphy-Worrell, Powell, Trialist, Doherty, Shorrocks, Bell, Shaw, Boggan, Farkas, Dlamini

SUBS | Houghton, Khan, Ramwell, Willis, Mullarkey-Matthews



Ben Wilkinson‘s side have a break from league football and in turn our attention switches to the Under-18 Premier League Cup.

We travel to Everton on Saturday 2 September, with kick-off scheduled for 11:30 (UK). 

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