Ntcham 45mins, Byrne 83mins.
- Match reports
- 26 October 2013 16:21
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
City u18s extended their unbeaten league run to three games with a comfortable home win over Arsenal.
Although nine of the squad travelled to Moscow for the UEFA Youth League clash, there was no Russian hangover as, under the watchful gaze of Patrick Vieira, City outplayed their Arsenal counterparts under grey skies at Platt Lane.
Mindful of the week’s European excursions, Jason Wilcox elected to start Byrne, Angelino and Ashley Smith-Brown on the bench, which meant Kean Bryan, traditionally a central midfielder, filled in at left back.
In all, Wilcox made three changes from the side that started last week’s rout on Tyneside, meaning there were starts for Nathaniel Oseni, Thierry Ambrose and EDS regular Ntcham, who is returning from an injury lay-off.
Ntcham’s influence was evident right from the kick off and he forced a low save with a free kick after just four minutes, as well as setting up a shot for Brandon Barker with a perfectly timed through-ball.
Boadu too was aiming to make his mark on the game, and ran almost the length of the pitch to force a corner after ten minutes, while his beautiful interplay with Ambrose set up a chance for Jorge Intima, who had his shot blocked.
The two began to combine in a dangerous fashion, and Ntcham forced a spectacular save from the visitors’ goalkeeper from a free kick before at last the goal arrived on the stroke of half time.
It was no surprise that excellent work on the right from Boadu saw the ball fall to Ntcham at the edge of the area, and the Frenchman gleefully fired home.
While the second half was still played at an excitingly fast pace, far fewer clear-cut chances fell City’s way, while the visitors from London had struggled to find any shooting positions in the first hour.
As the game went on, Arsenal began to pile on the pressure, forcing a number of free kicks and corners, the best chance coming after 70 minutes when Austin Lipman’s free kick floated just past the post from long range.
City stood firm, and Byrne sealed the points ten minutes from time, after a delightful exchange of passes with Boadu at the edge of the box. The roar with which the players celebrated indicated the passion which runs through the team.
Arsenal had a chance for a consolation goal at the death from a corner, but they found Billy O’Brien in the way to turn the ball round the post and preserve a welcome clean sheet.
The next assignment for City u18s is a trip to the South Coast to face Southampton on Saturday.