AcademyU18s match report: Liverpool 3-4 Manchester City
Liverpool U18s were beaten 4-3 by Manchester City at the Academy on Saturday.
Joel Ndala handed the away team a lead midway through the first half of the U18 Premier League North contest, but Lewis Koumas and then Trent Kone-Doherty swiftly struck back to put the Reds in front by the break.
Koumas deftly tucked in his second and the hosts’ third early in the second period, only for City to produce their own comeback to take all three points courtesy of Justin Oboavwoduo, Jaden Heskey and Matthew Whittingham.
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A period of silence was held before kick-off in Kirkby following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Liverpool began the game with intent and little time had passed when Ben Doak ducked in from the right-hand side and created space for a shot that was too close to the goalkeeper, before Ndala fashioned a very similar situation from City’s left flank.
U18s debutant Kieran Morrison was inches away from marking the occasion by flashing a 20-yard effort into the top left corner, his drive just drifting the wrong side of the upright.
City could have taken the lead on 22 minutes having stolen possession high up the pitch. Oboavwoduo was able to shape a curling finish from the ‘D’ but Fabian Mrozek palmed it away well.
The visitors were denied only temporarily, though, as Ashton Muir dribbled to the byline down the right and pulled back a cross for Ndala to guide a strike into the ground and beyond Mrozek for 1-0.
Niall Osborne had to make a crucial intervention to deny Ndala on the half-hour, recovering from his own half-clearance inside the area to block what looked a likely second goal.
The importance of that moment only increased when the Reds netted a rapid double to overturn the scoreline before the interval.
Koumas provided their equaliser, touching in the rebound after his header from Francis Gyimah’s excellent cross from the left was initially saved by George Murray-Jones.
The No.9 was then heavily involved in Liverpool’s next goal. He closed down Murray-Jones and blocked his kick out, sending the ball to the nearby Kone-Doherty for a low conversion into the exposed net.
Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s team enhanced their advantage just three minutes after the restart, too.
A flowing move from left to right worked play to Doak and he instantly scampered past his man and delivered a low cross to the near post, where Koumas crisply sent his finish home.
City kept going, however, and mounted an extended period of pressure following that goal, with Oboavwoduo the recipient of an early chance during the spell.
He was released in behind by Nico O’Reilly’s precise pass but dragged his shot just wide of the opposite post as the shooting angle narrowed.
Oboavwoduo did halve the deficit for the visitors with 68 on the clock, though. City attacked down the left and from a low cross along the six-yard box the striker forced the ball over the line at the back post.
And, with momentum now firmly behind them, they went on to snatch a comeback victory with two more goals late on.
Heskey was on hand to prod home from close range when O’Reilly’s header inside the box was blocked, and Oboavwoduo again got clear in the right channel to fire across goal and tee up Whittingham to win it yards out.
Mrozek, Osborne, Gyimah (Giblin, 82), Miles, Hayes-Green, Pinnington, Doak (Danns, 66), McConnell, Koumas, Morrison, Kone-Doherty (Roberts, 66).
Unused substitutes: Hewitson, Figueroa.
The young Reds are back in action in a fortnight’s time, with Nottingham Forest the visitors to Kirkby on Saturday October 1.