10-man City earn victory over Blackburn Rovers

Manchester City started our Under-18s Premier League Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory against Blackburn Rovers at the City Football Academy, despite being reduced to 10 men.

The match did not start the way we anticipated, with Kian Noble being sent off after bringing down Junior Nsangou just outside the penalty box.

Ben Wilkinson‘s side did excellently to respond however, as Nico O’Reilly put us ahead before half-time.

In the second half, City doubled our lead through Alfie Harrison, and managed to see the game out to its conclusion, as we began our cup campaign in perfect fashion.

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WHAT HAPPENED

After we claimed our first victory of the campaign in style last weekend at the City Football Academy, we wanted to carry that momentum into the U18s Premier League Cup.

And we did just that, with 11 Blackburn shirts behind the ball and an early free kick from Jacob Wright going narrowly over, as Wilkinson’s young charges heeded his demands of dominating the game.

We came close again as a Sebastian Naylor‘s pinpoint cross was driven into the box and Justin Oboavwoduo’s half volley rattled the crossbar.

That very clearance met Junior Nsangou who raced towards Noble who brought him down and was sent his marching orders by the referee.

This changed the complexion of the match, as Blackburn brought Murray-Jones into action with a low diving save by Bradley Taylor and Nsangou shot high and wide.

Despite this pressure, City did well to compose and found themselves on the ball again deep into the visitor’s half.

Wright passed the ball to Nico O’Reilly, his cross-come shot evaded everyone to sweep into the Blackburn net and give us a deserved lead going into the break.

City came out and replicated how we finished the first half as we camped Rovers into their own half.

And we reaped our rewards for this approach of play, as Matty Whittingham played O’Reilly through, and he squared a cross to Alfie Harrison who placed the ball beyond Blackburn’s Blease to deservedly double our lead.

With 20 minutes to go Blackburn pushed forward in the hope for a response, and two crosses from Paul Worrell met Tom Atcheson and Rhys Doherty who both skied their efforts over Murray-Jones’ goal.

Worrell and Edmondson had chances late on but City saw the game out to secure three points in our first group game of the Under-18s Premier League Cup.

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HOW WE LINED UP

George Murray-Jones returned in goal, and he was protected with a back four of Michael Okeke, Max Alleyne, Kian Noble and Sebastian Naylor.

Nico O’Reilly and Matty Whittingham remained in their positions in the engine room while Jacob Wright sat behind them in a deeper role.

Alfie Harrison started as a false nine, with Ashton Muir and Justin Oboavwoduo on the wings.

Manchester City Under-18s

Starting XI: Murray-Jones, Okeke, Alleyne, Noble, Naylor, O’Reilly (C), Wright, Whittingham, Muir, Oboavwoduo, Harrison

SUBS: Grant, Gray, Fletcher, Thomas, Batty

Blackburn Rovers Under-18s

Starting XI: Blease, Worrell, Owell, Atcheson, Davies, Doherty, Matthews, Shorrocks, Sangton, Farkas, Taylor

SUBS: Houghton, Honor, Currie, Fomondson, Willis

WHAT IT MEANS

A win for our Under-18s mean we sit top of our selected group, which also includes Leicester City and Norwich City who we are yet to play.

UP NEXT

City return to Under-18s Premier League North action next weekend, as we travel to the North-East to play Middlesborough.

Kick-off is at 11:30 (UK) on Saturday 10th September.

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