A double strike from Jordi Hiwula saw City's Elite Development Squad record a late victory over Stockport County at Edgeley Park.
City looked to be going down to a harsh defeat before Hiwula stole the show with a penalty on 86 minutes and a last minute goal to seal the game.
Before that, two first half strikes from Roque Santa Cruz, stopped only by the woodwork, were the best chances for City in a tough game that will serve as excellent preparation for the season ahead.
New EDS coach Attilio Lombardo named a strong starting line-up, with the experience of Roque Santa Cruz and World Cup finalist Nigel De Jong alongside exciting prospects including Reece Wabara, Mario Jelvic and Jeremy Helan.
At a sun-kissed Edgeley Park the Development Squad were resplendent in the new maroon away kit and looking to improve on their previous result, a 3-2 defeat to Stalybridge Celtic. It was County’s fifth game of the pre-season, the most recent a creditable 0-0 draw with Blue Square Premier champions Fleetwood Town.
After a quiet start, the match came to life on 13 minutes when Jelavic crossed for Roque Santa Cruz who thundered his first time shot against the crossbar.
Any thoughts of Stockport taking this friendly match lightly were dispelled by the sight of an animated County boss Jim Gannon barking orders throughout the game.
The first half quickly fell into a pattern of City dominance with little in the way of incident and the few Stockport forays easily absorbed by Ryan McGivern and Kieran Kennedy in the heart of the City defence.
City were happy to dictate a steady pace for the game and as the half drew to a close the Blues started to carve out a number of opportunities with Emyr Huws controlling midfield alongside De Jong and the imposing figures of Jeremy Helan and Reece Wabara making progress down the flanks.
First Helan headed narrowly wide from a corner before Santa Cruz again hit the woodwork from close range.
The second half saw numerous substitutions as the game opened up, providing chances for both teams. On the hour Jordi Hiwula, looking confident leading the City line, fired a ferocious shot that stung the hands of Stockport ‘keeper Ian Ormson.
A couple of decent opportunities were presented to Harry Bunn, who combined well with Hiwula in the new look striking partnership.
Stockport finally broke the deadlock on 72 minutes when Daniel O’Donnell evaded a packed City defence to poke the ball home.
With full time approaching City were awarded a penalty when Sean Newton tripped Hiwula in the box. The impressive Hiwula picked himself up and brushed himself off to convert the spotkick with a clean, powerful strike.
More was to come in the final minute when Hiwula capped an excellent second half performance by breaking clear of the Stockport back line and firing home a dramatic winner.
In the coming season, the Elite Development Squad will be competing in the Next Gen Series against European giants including PSG and Juventus.
CITY: Lawlor, Wabara, Helan (Facey HT), De Jong (Hutton 64), McGivern, Kennedy (Leigh), Drury (Henshall 80), Huws (Glendon HT), Santa Cruz (Hiwula HT), Jelavic (Bunn HT), Rusnak (Pozo 80)
UNUSED SUB: Nielson
STOCKPORT COUNTY: Ormson, Halls (Say HT), Newton (Piergianni 86), Connor, O’Donnell, Tunnicliffe, Kenyon (Rothwell HT), Collins (Darkwah HT), Sheridan (Meaney 74), Nolan (Brownhill 66), Rowe (Graham 82)
UNUSED SUBS: Omoboye, Annerson
GOALS: Stockport: O'Donnell 72 City: Hiwula 86 (pen) and 90
REF: Scott Mathieson