Manchester City’s Under-18s moved to within touching distance of lifting their third successive Under-18s Premier League North after seeing off Derby County 7-1 at the City of Football Academy.
An attacking first half display saw Carlos Borges, Dan Ogwuru, Luca Barrington and Josh Adam put us firmly in the driving seat at half time.
City added to this in the second half, with Nico O’Reilly, Barrington who grabbed his brace and a Jadel Katongo penalty.
Derby scored a fantastic free kick late on through Marko Borkovic as we put in a fine performance to edge us closer to being crowned champions.
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With the knowledge that City could win the title next week, if we secure victories against both Derby and Newcastle, we made an electric start to the match.
Josh Adam carved out the first attempt for the hosts, as he forced a shot stopping save from Rams keeper, Alfie Roberts, after Lewis laid the ball to his feet.
Derby set their stall early in the match, but our sustained pressure from City’s frontline managed to find a path to goal.
Tai Sodje played a low driving ball into the penalty area, and Carlos Borges was on hand to tap it in to give us a breakthrough.
Borges was unfortunate not to grab his brace, after fast feet by Adam got him into space, and crossed it to the winger who’s deflected shot went to Roberts’ palms.
It was not long before we doubled our advantage, as Nico O’Reilly played a pinpoint through ball to Borges, and his squared ball with Dan Ogwuru for a poaches finish.
Soon after the restart, we found ourselves in an attacking position once again, as O’Reilly laid the ball off to Luca Barrington, who stuttered his shot before he found the top corner.
Less than a minute later, Adam, who was having a fine game, added his name onto the scoresheet, after great passing play on the right found Barrington, his cross found the number eight who was in the right place at the right time to poke in.
We nearly had a fifth before the half time whistle, as Borges picked out Adam perfectly, but he could only find the Derby keeper’s leg as we went into the break with a good advantage.
The visitors came out with renewed confidence for the second half, with their control on the ball disrupting our rhythm.
But we reacted well, as the Young Blues pounced on their first opportunity of the half, as O’Reilly placed the ball into the net, after a neat set up by Ogwuru.
We found our first half levels again after our fifth, as Barrington converted his brace minutes later, when the ball found him in the box, he passed it into the bottom corner.
Clear cut opportunities came few and far between, until we were awarded a spot kick by the referee, which Jadel Katongo slotted away calmly to put us seven ahead.
Derby reduced the deficit late on, as a Marko Borkovic freekick, was hit sweetly past George Murray-Jones to end the scoring.
HOW WE LINED UP
George Murray-Jones was selected between the sticks for this game, with a back four of Luca Barrington, Max Alleyne, Jadel Katongo and Matty Whittingham protecting him.
Rico Lewis sat in front of the defense with Nico O’Reilly and Josh Adam playing further ahead in the midfield.
Tai Sodje and Carlos Borges were placed on the flanks with Dan Ogwuru playing as the number nine.
Manchester City Under-18s
Starting XI: Murray-Jones, Whittingham, Katongo, Alleyne, Barrington, O’Reilly, Lewis (C), Adam, Sodje, Ogwuru, Borges
Subs: McNamara, I Smith, Dickson, Mebude, L Smith
Derby County Under-18s
Starting XI: Roberts, Brailfsford, Moore, Christie, Rutt, Hawkins, Ibrahim, Sebagabo, Fapetu, Borkovic
Subs: Thompson, Gough, Wheeldon, Dixon, Nicholas-Davies
WHAT IT MEANS
With Liverpool beating Sunderland earlier on, we will have to wait till next week to have the chance of reclaiming the Under-18s Premier League North.
Ben Wilkinson’s side face another crucial fixture next week as we welcome Newcastle United to the City Football Academy, where we could be crowned champions.
Kick off is scheduled for 12:30 (UK) and will be shown live on CITY +.
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