New Home kit 2018/2019
Online and InstoreBuy Now
The ten-man Blues had trailed, courtesy of Andriy Kulakov’s second half header, after Felix Nmecha was sent off for a second bookable offence, leaving our chances of progression hanging by a thread.
Previewing the clash, manager Harsley had called for a positive reaction from his young charges, following a disappointing run of results.
City dominated the early proceedings, without creating any clear-cut chances, in a bid to gain early control of the game.
Nmecha saw a low drive deflect just wide, while Harwood-Bellis’ snap half-volley also suffered crept off-target.
It would the hosts who created the game’s first real opportunity, as Artem Bondarenko fired just wide of Curtis Anderson’s goal.
Heeding the warning, the Blues regained composure and continued to press for the opener.
The visitors continued where we left off after the break, with Matondo threatening once again, forcing Trubin into a smart stop inside two minutes.
At the other end, Anderson produced an equally impressive save, tipping Maxym Chekh’s effort onto the crossbar, and had to be alert once more to deny Kulakov.
The game swung in the hosts’ favour when City were reduced to ten men, as Nmecha picked up a second yellow card for a challenge on Olexiy Kashchuk.
The home side almost capitalised immediately, as Kulakov headed a free-kick onto the bar – only to be correctly flagged for offside.
A goal would follow soon after though, as City conceded from another set-piece – the Blues’ Achilles Heel, as described by Harsley after Saturday’s defeat to Chelsea.
Kulakov opened the scoring, rising highest to head home a corner, handing Harsley’s side a mountain to climb.
Tom Dele-Bashiru seemed to spurn the Blues’ best chance to level, as Trubin blocked his near post effort, but Harwood-Bellis struck deep into injury time to light a glimmer of hope – an unforgettable moment for the teenager.
Anderson was in goal shielded by a back four of Alpha Diounkou, Colin Rosler, Harwood-Bellis and Ogbeta.
Matondo and Poveda flanked Nabil Touaizi up front.
City stay bottom of the group, while Shakhtar record their first points.
Lyon and Hoffenheim – both on six points – play later this afternoon.
City return to Premier League 2 action with a trip to Everton on Saturday 27 October at 6pm, before embarking on another trip to Merseyside to face Tranmere Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday 30 October (7pm).
Paul Harsley reflects on the second month of the new campaign...