U18s match report: Pennington and Laffey on the mark as Liverpool beat Stoke City

AcademyU18s match report: Pennington and Laffey on the mark as Liverpool beat Stoke City

By Liverpool FC


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Liverpool U18s began 2024 with a win as they saw off Stoke City 3-1 at the Kirkby Academy on Saturday.

Second-half goals from Cody Pennington and Michael Laffey did the job for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side, who had taken the lead thanks to an own goal in the first half but then been pegged back by Pedro Nzau’s header on the stroke of the interval.

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It was the visitors who threatened first at the Academy, with Ali Hayder’s second-minute cross-shot just evading Nzau at the far post.

Kieran Morrison had the Reds’ first effort of the day after 10 minutes, showing good feet to skip past two defenders before firing a 20-yard strike over the bar.

Josh Sonni-Lambie then had a shot deflected just wide after a nice turn on the edge of the box, and Lucas Pitt saw his fierce strike blocked from the resulting corner.

Morrison tried his luck with a 30-yard free-kick that drifted wide on 20 minutes, and he was involved as Liverpool took the lead five minutes later.

His pass down the right released Pitt, who delivered a teasing low cross that forced Stoke defender Sydney Agina to turn the ball into his own net under pressure from Keyrol Figueroa.

Laffey might have doubled the Reds’ advantage soon after, but sent his shot wide after being played in by Sonni-Lambie’s backheel, while Figueroa dragged an effort off target after a mazy dribble from the left.

Stoke levelled just before half-time, as the unmarked Nzau headed in from close range after an in-swinging corner from the left.

Liverpool, though, came out quickly after the break, and regained the lead within four minutes as a flowing, back-to-front move ended with Pennington sweeping the ball into the top corner from 18 yards after Sonni-Lambie had stepped over Morrison’s pass.


By John Powell


Kornel Misciur did well to deny Nzau with his feet as Stoke sought an instant response, while at the other end Pennington was crowded out after being sent through by Figueroa on the break.

Wellity Lucky sent a header wide from Sonni-Lambie’s inviting cross, and the lively Morrison was denied at the near post by goalkeeper Ben Houston as the Reds looked to take control of the contest.

Figueroa failed to get hold of a volley with 15 minutes remaining and Morrison was off target from 25 yards soon after.

At the other end, Pitt showed great recovery pace to prevent Hayder from racing in behind, and Misciur did well to bat away another dangerous set-piece delivery from right underneath his crossbar.

Dean Adekoya came close to an equaliser for the visitors as his low shot fizzed just wide of Misciur’s near post, but Liverpool wrapped up the win in the 89th minute as, after Stoke failed to clear their lines, Laffey saw his 20-yard effort take a nick off a defender and beat Houston at his near post.

Figueroa was denied a fourth goal in stoppage time, Houston saving well after the striker had done brilliantly to win the ball and drive towards goal, but Bridge-Wilkinson’s side could go away satisfied having made a winning start to the year.


Liverpool U18s: Misciur, Pitt, Gyimah (Evers, 90+1), Lucky, Furnell-Gill, Trueman, Morrison, Laffey, Sonni-Lambie, Pennington, Figueroa.

Unused subs: Morana, Kelly, Enahoro-Marcus, Airoboma.


Liverpool are in action next Saturday when they host Arsenal in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

The tie at the Kirkby Academy kicks off at 5.30pm GMT and will be broadcast live on LFCTV and LFCTV GO.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.