The Under 18 Academy team have had a poor set of pre season results (albeit against opponents that have usually been older than them) and so they went into today’s match with Manchester City Under 18s at Leckwith as big underdogs and in the end things went true to form as the visitors ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.
When you consider that Manchester City have one of the best records around for bringing through players from their Academy sides into their first team and their recent history of reaching and occasionally winning FA Youth Cups, there is no real shame in a City team shorn of their best players in this age group because of first team commitments losing by such a score. However, when you then take on board what a good game our kids gave their illustrious visitors in the first half, the final scoreline was a disappointment.
City gave us good as they got in the first half and, except for the visitors pace down their left which caused a few concerns, did not have too many problems keeping their clean sheet. To be honest, there were few real alarms for Man City either in a first period that was short of goalmouth action, but was still an interesting spectacle for all of that.
Unfortunately though the second half was a completely different story – you got the impression that there had been a few home truths told in the visiting dressing room at the interval and Man City looked a much more threatening proposition as they forced a string of early corners. City survived them though and, just when it looked like they were getting back into the game, they fell behind around the hour mark to a fine goal as the visitors string together a lovely passing movement which finished with a tap in goal by striker Benali.
I am afraid that City rather fell to pieces for a while after that, they gave the ball away straight from the restart and within a minute the ball was in their net again as Abdoullali’s fierce angled shot beat keeper Santiago at his near post. For a while it looked like City were on for a hiding as the visitors completely dominated, but a couple of close misses from headers by Jarvis offered hope that they might be able to reduce the deficit
There was a further goal, but it came for the visitors in the last couple of minutes when some wonderful skill by their number 10 out by the corner flag took him past two opponents and he was only stopped by a mistimed tackle from Alex Evans which resulted in a pretty obvious penalty which Redshaw put away easily.
City’s team display was rather mirrored in individual performances with captain Jon Meades (used as a left back today), midfielder Ibby Farah and striker Nat Jarvis all having a good first forty five minutes before fading after the break – given the strength of the opposition though, it probably wasn’t really the best game to try to judge how well or poorly the Under 18s will do this season.