City EDS rounded off their pre-season preparations for their inaugural Barclays U21 Premier League campaign with a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Welsh champions TNS.
Atillio Lombardo’s changes were opposed by the Welsh League champions and without the clutch of first-team stars that appeared in the win at Stockport, so it was a tough proposition to string together consecutive wins.
George Evans, Marcos Lopes and Denis Suarez all returned to the EDS fold after their impressive auditions in the first-team over the pre-season months and Roberto Mancini was in attendance for the match to check on their progress, along with the other young players on show.
All three were heavily involved in the early stages, with Evans particularly eye-catching sitting ahead of the defence, breaking up play and showcasing his extensive passing range.
It was a physically demanding half, played with the sun beating down and the tackles flying in but real cast iron chances were at a premium. Lopes went closest for City on the quarter of an hour mark but his powerful effort whistled inches wide of the post.
As the half wore on, it seemed that the away side were starting to win the physical battle and that took its toll as half-time loomed.
TNS took the lead in the 43rd minute when a long diagonal ball fell between and behind the City centre-backs and once Finley got to the ball first, it was an easy task to square to Quigley who fired into the empty net with Eirik Johansen scrambling.
The lead was doubled a few minutes after the break.
Johansen did brilliantly to tip round a free-kick from the edge of the box but he could do nothing when the resulting corner was met with a bullet header into the bottom corner.
City did begin to get a foothold in the match, as Suarez’ influence grew but TNS were in a ruthless mood and when a chance to extend their advantage came 15 minutes into the second half, they took it.
A. Edwards met a measured through ball with a first time dinked lob which left Johansen no chance.
It was a flattering scoreline for TNS but you couldn’t argue with the opposition’s quality of finishing.
The real business starts on Friday when the EDS will face Chelsea in their first Barclays U21 Premier League fixture at Brentford FC’s Griffin Park.
Kick-off is at 19:00 and you can follow live goal updates on the Official Manchester City Twitter account.