AcademyDanns nets double as LFC U18s draw at Stoke City
Jayden Danns scored twice as Liverpool U18s drew 2-2 with Stoke City in their final away fixture of the 2022-23 season.
After Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side had fallen behind at Clayton Wood Training Ground on Saturday, a second-half brace from Danns turned the score around.
But Stoke’s Adam Watson completed his own double by converting from the penalty spot late on to force a share of the spoils in U18 Premier League North.
The young Reds enjoyed the lion’s share of possession during the opening 45 minutes as they targeted an immediate response to their defeat at Derby County in midweek.
But it was the home team who established an advantage before the interval, with Watson getting the breakthrough just shy of the half-hour mark as he met a corner from the left and guided the ball home inside the six-yard box.
Liverpool continued to dictate control of the ball past the restart, however, and an increased threat on the opposition goal soon paid the best dividends.
Danns drew the visitors level on the hour mark by prodding in a rebound after Josh Davidson collected Lewis Koumas’ pass into the area and had a shot repelled.
The Reds carved out a series of good chances to take the lead, including Keyrol Figueroa thumping a drive against the crossbar, before Danns put his side in front; the forward capitalised from close range when James McConnell dribbled into the box and squared.
It was a short-lived lead, though, as Stoke won a spot-kick two minutes later - Lucas Pitt penalised for handball - and Watson dispatched from 12 yards.
Both Figueroa and Koumas were denied in a late scramble that saw the home goalkeeper produce a series of stops, and the teams had to settle for a point apiece.
“Not our finest performance; first half was OK but not great, 1-0 down at half-time,” Bridge-Wilkinson told Liverpoolfc.com post-match.
“Then Jayden Danns scored a couple of goals, some good play involved in both of them, to go 2-1 up. And then we concede a penalty straight after we score the second really, which was quite naïve really on our part.
“We created a number of chances in the second half where we could and probably should have won the game, but we didn’t take them. So, not our finest day but OK, lots of positives still to take.”
The U18s will conclude their competitive schedule for the campaign when they host Newcastle United at the Academy next Saturday, though a series of friendly fixtures are planned beyond that.
“We’ve got another couple of friendlies arranged and then a tournament in mid-May,” explained Bridge-Wilkinson. “So one more official league fixture but we’ve still got plenty of football still to play and plenty of learning still.”
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek, Miles, Scanlon, Furnell-Gill, Pitt, Davidson, Figueroa, Onanuga (Kelly, 78), Ahmed (Koumas, 56), Morrison (McConnell, 56), Danns.
Unused subs: Hewitson, Samuels.