Match reportU18s beaten by late Man City goal
Liverpool U18s lost a hard-fought encounter with Manchester City 1-0 at the Academy.
Luca Barrington drove in an 87th-minute winner to settle Saturday’s evenly matched game between the sides that started the weekend placed second and third in the U18 Premier League North.
The young Reds had an early Oakley Cannonier goal ruled out for offside, while Isaac Mabaya hit the crossbar with a header in the opening stages of the second half.
But City would take all three points when Barrington rounded off a late counter-attack with a powerful strike.
City enjoyed the majority of the ball in the opening minutes, with captain Carlos Borges offering a threatening outlet down the visitors’ left.
However, Liverpool showed early signs of their ability to win the ball back high up the pitch, with Mabaya twice pouncing to intercept passes by City goalkeeper Josh McNamara.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson's team were primed and ready to spring following these turnovers, with James McConnell testing McNamara from just outside the area before Mabaya’s low cross was gathered by the ‘keeper.
Cannonier was foiled by the flag after he’d poked Melkamu Frauendorf’s effort over the line from a couple of yards out, with the hosts now in the ascendancy.
The pattern of the game was set with Liverpool picking their moments to press while City looked to control possession.
And another example of Mabaya’s off-the-ball intelligence, the midfielder this time picking up the second ball around 25 yards from goal, resulted in a Bobby Clark snap-shot that was blocked by Shea Charles.
City could have taken the lead shortly before the break, though, but Will Dickson failed to convert Borges’ low delivery at the back post.
Liverpool goalkeeper Harvey Davies reacted quickly to smother the ball at Micah Hamilton’s feet as the City substitute looked set to strike on goal a couple of minutes into the second half.
Soon after the deadlock was so nearly broken at the other end, when a fine move by the hosts concluded with Mabaya nodding Josh Davidson’s excellent cross onto the bar.
There was a more open feel to the match now and Davies tipped an attempt by Josh Adam over the bar to keep the score level.
Bridge-Wilkinson then introduced fresh legs up front in the form of Harvey Blair and he went agonisingly close to scoring just before Barrington’s winner.
Davidson surged up-field from right-back and drove the ball low across goal, with Blair just a fraction away from making contact.
And that would prove to be a pivotal moment, as City substitutes Daniel Ogwuru and Barrington combined on the break to snatch victory for the visitors.
Liverpool U18s: Davies, Davidson, Miles, Chambers, Scanlon, Bajcetic, Mabaya, McConnell, Frauendorf, Clark, Cannonier (Blair, 70).
Unused substitutes: Hewitson, Wellity, Jonas, Figueroa.