Report: Manchester City Under-18s 6 Blues Under-18s 1

Blues bow out of the FA Youth Cup.


Blues Under-18s exited the FA Youth Cup on Friday night at the hands of Manchester City.

Three goals in the first-half and a further four after the interval did the damage, with two coming for Liam Delap, as Oscar Bobb, Alex Robertson, James McAtee and CJ Egan-Riley also left their mark. Joshua Williams’ late goal was too little too late, but nonetheless, a symbol of the quality that this Blues side possesses.

Pitted against the Under-18 Premier League pacesetters at the third-round stage, it was always going to be a tough ask for Paul Harsley’s team to progress. However, contrary to what the scoreline might suggest, Blues competed admirably throughout and matched their opponents for large swathes of the encounter. This should though come as little surprise with the latest set of academy scholars also top of their division – the Professional Development League North.

Both sides started the game in a 4-3-3 formation, but it was the hosts who had the early joy when they took the lead in the fourth minute. Robertson found space in midfield and his threaded pass set free Delap who coolly beat Clayton with a tidy finish.

It was the quality of strike expected from a player who has scored for Manchester City’s first team in the Carabao Cup this season, although not one that significantly knocked Blues who were next to threaten. Sparked by a moment of dynamism in the centre circle by Amari Miller, the ball was swept out to right-back Josh Dugmore and his deflected cross caused a bit of panic until it was collected by goalkeeper Mikki Van Sas.

There was another cross gathered by the home team’s stopper after Clayton comfortably held a Delap header at the other end and with 20 minutes played Blues remained unphased by the early concession as an even contest developed.

Manchester City had the next chance through Samuel Edozie, but so wayward was his effort that a new ball was required. The winger caused more problems on his next venture forward until a combination of skipper Alfie Chang and Clayton abruptly halted the former Millwall man’s advances.

In response, Blues had a spell of sustained pressure and won their first corner of the evening through more good work from Miller. This was swiftly followed by another as Harsley’s side hunted an equaliser, only for an offside flag to deny them on this occasion.

Undeterred, Miller tested his opposite number again and nearly beat Van Sas at his near post, with just the boot of the Dutch goalkeeper keeping Carlos Vicens’ charges in the lead.

And it was becoming clear that it would take something special to breach the Blues backline for a second time. Unfortunately, that was forthcoming not once but twice in quick succession somewhat against the run of play.

First, Delap struck with a backheeled finish inside the six-yard box before Bobb – involved in the build-up for the second – got his name on the scoresheet with a left-footed drive.

Half-time: Manchester City 3 Blues 0

The second period started in a similar fashion to the first 45 with Manchester City landing an early blow. Creator of the game’s opener turned scorer as Robertson smuggled his way through to prod past Clayton amidst a deluge of rain in the North West.

Miller then had a goalbound effort blocked and, in truth, a counter was the least that Blues deserved for their continued dedication to their craft.

Instead, it was further success for the Citizens in front of goal when McAtee hit their fifth. Involved in goal number two, this time he led a high press and with the ball thieved from Blues’ possession he did not hesitate to rifle high into the net.

Again, Blues kept right on and substitute Remi Walker slotted into a unit that went down fighting and refused to make it anything but easy for Manchester City. Which explains why it took an inch-perfect delivery for goal number six, with Egan-Riley’s feathered finish easing in Kwaku Oduroh’s cross.

But the best moment of the night was saved until the very end when Blues hit a fine consolation effort to spoil Manchester City’s hopes of a clean sheet to accompany their progression. Having only half-cleared a set-piece, the home team were punished as Williams composed himself to find the bottom corner with a precision right-footed finish.

Manchester City (4-3-3): Mikki Van Sas, CJ Egan-Riley (captain), Finley Burns, Callum Doyle (Kwaku Oduroh 62), Juan Larios, Romeo Lavia, Oscar Bobb, Alex Robertson, Liam Delap (Tai Sodje 60), James McAtee (Carlos Borges 65), Samuel Edozie.

Substitutes not used: Josh McNamara, Josh Adam, Harvey Griffiths, Micah Hamilton.

Booking: Doyle 57.

Blues (4-3-3): Aaron Clayton, Joshua Dugmore, Callum Sullivan (Charlie Noakes 84), Marcel Oakley, Kade Craig, Alfie Chang (captain), Joshua Williams, George Hall, Kieran Wakefield (Remi Walker 74), Jordan James, Amari Miller.

Substitutes not used: Kobi Brooks, Harry Manton, Tom Fogarty, Connor Barratt, Cianole Nguepissi.

Booking: Craig 50.

Referee: Barry Lamb.