Match reportClark and Blair goals give LFC U18s victory at Stoke
Second-half goals from Bobby Clark and Harvey Blair earned Liverpool U18s a battling 2-0 win over their Stoke City counterparts on Saturday.
Clark found the bottom right corner with a precise finish from Oakley Cannonier’s assist shortly before the hour mark at Clayton Wood.
A tight U18 Premier League North contest was then in the balance until the last, with Harvey Blair capitalising on a magnificent dribble by Melkamu Frauendorf to seal victory a minute from the end.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s Liverpool were on the front foot for much of an opening half that was very short on genuine scoring chances.
A lot of their most productive work had come down the right flank, but their best opportunity actually came via the opposite wing on 24 minutes.
Callum Scanlon created a yard of space for a cross and whipped a ball into the Stoke near post, where Cannonier arrived first, only to nudge his effort across goal and wide of the right frame.
The only other threat before the break came from the hosts, with Jack Griffiths moving onto a pass slid into the left of the Liverpool area and seeing his low hit halted at the near post by Fabian Mrozek.
Opportunities began to flow almost immediately after the restart.
James McConnell worked Tommy Simkin in the Stoke goal for the first time when he collected an infield pass, jinked into space and drove in a high attempt that was pushed over.
Blair then skewed off target having showed strength and perseverance during a dribble in from the right edge of the box to close range.
But the series of Liverpool chances concluded with a breakthrough goal on 57 minutes. A backward pass by the home side was cut out by Cannonier, he served it to Clark to his left and the No.11 coolly rolled a low finish across Simkin.
Griffiths was Stoke’s major threat throughout and he almost levelled soon after, but had a shot from the centre of the area forced wide when Josh Davidson was robbed of possession.
The forward had an even better opportunity with 74 on the clock as he beat Mrozek to a right-wing delivery and rounded the Reds goalkeeper. But from a narrowing angle he could only find the side-netting.
Stoke’s Christy Grogan was sent off following a heavy challenge that prompted a fracas between the teams, while Simkin denied Isaac Mabaya at the end of a counter-attack.
But Liverpool finally sealed the points in the 89th minute. Substitute Frauendorf carried the ball in from the right flank to the near post, drawing defenders and Simkin to him before squaring for Blair to poke home from yards out.
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek, Davidson, Scanlon, Miles, Jonas, Pilling, Blair, Mabaya, Cannonier (Frauendorf, 72), McConnell, Clark.
Unused substitutes: Hewitson, Figueroa, Pennington, Gyimah.