Manchester City have had an encouraging start to their Checkatrade Trophy campaign, currently sitting second in their group and just one win away from progressing to the next round.
An opening draw against Shrewsbury Town and an emphatic 4-1 win over Crewe Alexandra means Paul Harsley’s side have secured four points in the Northern Group D so far and puts the Blues in a strong position after last year’s disappointing group stage exit.
What’s happened so far…
City kicked-off the competition with a calm and controlled performance against Shrewsbury.
The Shrews – like a majority of the teams in the competition – were physically a lot stronger than our mostly teenage side and looked close to walking away with the win until our 89th minute penalty.
After being brought down in the area Nabil Touaizi converted from the spot to cancel out Lee Angol’s second-half strike and take the game into a tense penalty shoot-out.
Between City and Shrewsbury, only four of the nine penalties hit the back of the net with Adrian Bernabe and Tom Dele-Bashiru’s efforts coming back off the woodwork and only Rabbi Matondo’s shot registering for the Blues, while Lenell John-Lewis, Oliver Norburn and Charlie Colkett were on target for the home side to clinch the extra point.
Due to a number of injuries Paul Harsley was forced to field an even younger team against Crewe Alexandra but, despite this, City oozed confidence and maturity.
Lorenzo Gonzalez' and Dele-Bashiru’s strikes put City in a strong position as the Blues entered the break 2-0 up. Crewe managed to grab a goal back in the opening moments of the second half, but it wasn’t enough to knock City's confidence as Harsley’s side marched on and struck twice more through Taylor Richards’ penalty and a last-minute effort from Henri Ogunby.
It was a fine performance from the Academy side and our three point hail that evening could prove vital as City look to move into the Round of 32.
To progress, our Under-21s need to beat Tranmere Rovers away at Prenton Park on Tuesday 30 October, kick-off at 7pm.