Manchester City moved up to second place in the U18 Premier League North table thanks to a 2-1 win over Sunderland at City Football Academy.
Beats from Dire Mebude and Will Dickson saw City in an early lead with two goals before Ben Middlemas reduced the arrears moments before the break.
Dickson hit the post shortly after the restart, while Isaac Smith made an important goal line clearance at the other end in a hotly contested second 45, with both sides reduced to ten men after an outside ball just before the hour.
But even though we were not able to extend our advantage, Ben Wilkinson’s youngsters held on tight to close on deserved three points in our U18 Premier League North campaign.
City enjoyed the majority of the game in the initial exchanges, but it was the visitors who came closest to an early goal.
Just after ten minutes, Louis Salkeld stole in at the far post, and after picking a looped ball out of the air, he slammed an effort from the underside of the City crossbar.
The U-18 Premier League champions responded shortly after with our own chance as Dire Mebude hit outgoing Sunderland stopper Adam Richardson for a ball over the visiting defense.
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But the keeper’s blunder was spared by his teammate Joseph Ryder, who did just enough to prevent the winger from shooting towards an empty goal.
But in a mirror image of the first chance, City took the lead after 25 minutes as Mebude drove in on a sharp pass from behind from Isaac Smith, rounded Richardson and put in coolly.
And the winger became the provider eight minutes before the break, grabbing Smith’s ball over the Sunderland defense before feeding Dickson to a one-on-one finish.
Ben Wilkinson’s men were apparently in the lead, but the visitors halved the deficit at the stroke of the break as Middlemas picked up a loose ball, squeezing his way through a series of challenges before shooting into Murray-Jones’ nearest post.
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City, however, picked up after that setback and Dickson was on the verge of a post from poking his second of the match home after stealing in on the right flank within three minutes of the restart.
Both sides were desperate to turn an equal second half in their favor, but the match threatened to spill over as an outside ball saw Kane Taylor give his marching orders to City, while Sunny Singh was also shown red for her role in the altercation. .
And City were grateful to Smith shortly after in a breathless five-minute period as our midfield cleared the line after Middlemas intercepted Murray-Jones’ loose ball from behind.
Sunderland were in debt to Richardson for a series of fine saves from Barrington and replaced Daniel Ogwuru, but it did nothing to detract from a brave display from Wilkinson’s side.
How we lined up
George Murray-Jones’ goal was shielded by a back four by Lakyle Samuel, Kane Taylor, captain Mahamado Susoho and Isaac Smith.
Matthew Wittingham sat in front while Josh Adam and Nico O’Reilly completed midfield three.
At the sharp end, Dire Mebude and Luca Barrington started on the flanks with Will Dickson playing through the middle.
By XI | Murray-Jones, Samuel, Taylor, Whittingham (Breckin 56 ‘), Smith, Susoho (C), Adam (Galvez 76’), O’Reilly, Mebude, Barrington, Dickson
Subs | Honour
Sunderland XI | Richardson, Salkeld, Bainbridge, Cain (Watson 77 ‘), Fieldson, Williams, Dowling, Singh, Middlemas, Kelly (C), Ryder
Subs | Cameron, Bell, Waters
What it means
The victory moves City up to second place in the U18 Premier League North table ahead of both Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers by virtue of having a better goal difference.
Ben Wilkinson’s youngsters are six points behind Blackburn, but have two games in hand on the league leaders.
City return for U18 Premier League North action on Saturday. November 20, when we host Leeds at CFA.
Kick-off is at 12 noon.
Man City v Sunderland company profile Wilkinson was pleased with his Under-18s win over Sunderland Manchester City’s U-18 boss Ben Wilkinson was pleased with the desire of his players to hold on to all three points against Sunderland. Read more.
Wilkinson was pleased with his Under-18s win over Sunderland
Manchester City’s U-18 boss Ben Wilkinson was pleased with the desire of his players to hold on to all three points against Sunderland. Read more.