AcademyU18s match report: Morrison hat-trick gives Liverpool win over Boro
Kieran Morrison hit a hat-trick as Liverpool U18s emerged 3-1 winners from an eventful league clash with their Middlesbrough counterparts on Saturday afternoon.
Morrison’s opening goal in the first half had been levelled, but he dispatched a pair of emphatic second-half finishes, either side of Kornel Misciur producing a crucial penalty save, to secure three points for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s team at the Academy.
Boro made the more assured start to the U18 Premier League North contest in Kirkby and Charlie Lennon fired wide of the left post after cutting out a crossfield Liverpool pass and driving to the box.
The visitors’ early ascendancy was not translating into clear chances, however, and the young Reds showed their own possible threat just past the 20-minute mark.
Morrison made a good run to the byline from the right flank and pulled the ball back. The cross evaded Ranel Young but reached Francis Gyimah, who couldn’t wrap his right foot around his effort enough to threaten the goalkeeper.
The home side did take the lead on 26 minutes, though.
Young found space in the left channel and his shot at goal was deflected off George Grant, then the goalkeeper and then looped onto the crossbar – with Morrison on hand to prod the rebound into the Boro net.
An equaliser came soon after, however. Rio Patterson-Powell dribbled along the left and dragged a cross into the middle of the area, where Frankie Coulson was perfectly placed to plant a low finish past Misciur.
The away team might have gone into the break ahead, too, but Patterson-Powell’s close-range effort was deflected wide at the last by Kyle Kelly.
By John Powell
And instead it was Liverpool who got back in front within two minutes of the restart.
Neat approach play in opposition territory created a danger from the Reds and when the ball ran loose to Morrison, he lashed a brilliant first-time shot into the roof of the goal.
Josh Sonni-Lambie was in a promising shooting position seconds later and his hit from 18 yards was punched away by the goalkeeper.
Boro’s response was strong, but they were denied in a variety of circumstances.
First, they won a penalty when Patterson-Powell was tripped by Wellity Lucky. But Patterson-Powell’s spot-kick was thwarted by the feet of Misciur – and Jack Patterson’s looping cross on the follow-up struck the bar.
Lennon then had the ball in the Liverpool net but was flagged offside, and next Coulson’s lovely chip when played in through the right channel beat Misciur but thudded against the base of the opposite post.
Both sides had further opportunities, with the Reds thwarted three times late on – substitute Joe Upton by a last-ditch tackle and Afolami Onanuga and Morrison by saves from Cameron Simpson.
But Morrison rifled another excellent effort beyond the ’keeper and in off the crossbar during added time, wrapping up a sixth victory in eight U18 league games this season for Bridge-Wilkinson’s charges.
Liverpool U18s: Misciur, Pitt, Gyimah, Lucky, Enahoro-Marcus (Pennington, 46), Kelly, Morrison, Laffey, Sonni-Lambie, Onanuga, Young (Upton, 81).
Unused subs: Morana, Furnell-Gill, Martin.
The U18s are back in action next Saturday when they travel to Stoke City in U18 Premier League North. The 11.30am GMT kick-off is live on LFCTV GO.