City Elite Development Squad recorded a first win in five to see off visitors Schalke 04 in a friendly at Hyde’s Ewen Fields on Tuesday night.
Patrick Vieira’s side ran out deserved 1-0 victors over the visiting German side to lift the mood after their desperately unlucky loss to Chelsea on Friday night.
Sinan Bytyqi saw his first-half penalty saved, before Jordy Hiwula got off the mark for the season with the night’s only goal - a close range finish to finish off an excellent City move, three minutes into the second period.
There were five changes from the side that were beaten down south on Friday night.
Adam Drury and Devante Cole are the latest EDS duo to head out on loans at St Mirren and Barnsley respectively, allowing more of last year’s u18 Northern Premier League champions to ascend through into the u21 set-up.
Jose Angel Pozo was another to come into the team, starting in Cole’s stead on the left wing, while Jack Byrne also got the nod alongside Seko Fofana in the centre of midfield and Ian Lawlor made his first City start of the 2014/15 season in goal.
Schalke reached the last four of the UEFA Youth League last season and were only edged out 1-0 by Barcelona in their semi-final, so Vieira’s side would have known that they were in for a stiff examination against the German outfit before kick-off.
It took some time for the game to settle into any kind of rhythm but the home side had the first clear-cut opportunity after 12 minutes.
...City EDS v Schalke...
Pozo slid through Jordy Hiwula, who timed his run to perfection and rounded Timon Wellenreuther in the Schalke goal but his finish wasn’t struck as cleanly as it might have been, giving the last defender the opportunity to get back and clear it off the line.
Although chances were at a premium, it was still an attractive first half contested by two teams committed to keeping the ball and working it through the lines.
City’s second chance of the night arrived on 24 minutes courtesy of an imaginative reverse pass from Byrne which fell invitingly for Sinan Bytyqi but the Austrian youth international appeared to be caught between the notions of shooting and crossing, before eventually steering it a yard past the post.
The visitors only registered their first shot of the match in the 36th minute but Jonas Malsam’s dipping volley was watched over the top by Lawlor and, a minute later, City had a penalty.
Smith-Brown was the man who won it, twisting Kim Sane inside and out, forcing the defender to the floor where he handled.
Bytyqi took up responsibility for the spot-kick but Wellenreuther made a brilliant save, tipping the low, powerful strike onto the post.
Fofana worked the increasingly put-upon Schalke stopper again a minute later but once again, Wellenreuther beat the shot away to preserve his clean sheet.
It remained goalless going in at the break but City wasted no time in changing that fact three minutes after the restart.
Pozo found Bossaerts on the right byline and the Belgian picked out the unmarked Hiwula in the middle.
The City no.9 made no mistake, tucking the ball under the sprawled Wellenreuther.
Technically, it was Jordy’s first goal of the season as his strike in the Manchester Senior Cup final, played just over a fortnight ago, belongs to 2013/14.
A flurry of changes to both sides disrupted the flow of the game in the following 20 minutes but Thierry Ambrose nearly made an immediate impression after climbing off the bench on 70 minutes.
The Frenchman raced onto another good through ball by Pozo but by the time he'd rounded the keeper, the angle was too acute for a shot and Schalke were able to get numbers back to neutralise the danger.
The visitors rallied in the closing stages but, as was the case all night, City's defended with distinction and closed out a deserved victory.
City are next in action in the Barclays U21 Premier League next Tuesday night when Sunderland visit Hyde.
CITY: Lawlor, Bossaerts, Evans, Facey, Smith-Brown, Glendon (C) (Horsfield 64mins), Fofana (Boadu 64mins), Byrne, Bytyqi (Barker 45mins), Pozo (Intima 79mins), Hiwula (Ambrose 70mins)
Unused subs: O’Brien, Oliver, Intima,
SCHALKE: Wellenreuther, Sane, Friedrich, Borgmann, Wolff (C), Sobottka, Schumacher, Fritz, Malsam, Avidijaj, Pick