Woodrow 59mins & 69mins
- Match reports
- 11 August 2013 14:53
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
The Patrick Vieira EDS reign got off and running at Hyde on Sunday afternoon.
Kit Symons’ Fulham were the visitors coming off the back of an impressive 2012/13 campaign which saw the Cottagers only narrowly miss out on a place in the Barclays u21 Premier League finals.
On the day, Jordy Hiwula’s 30th minute strike was replied by two second-half goals from Fulham’s Cauley Woodrow to consign City to a narrow defeat.
With first-team boss Manuel Pellegrini in attendance alongside Brian Kidd and Ruben Cousillas, there was no lack of incentive for City’s youngsters to shine on the opening day of the Barclays u21 Premier League season.
The Chilean popped his head around the dressing room door to wish Vieira’s men luck ahead of the game – an act which served as a reminder of the opportunities available for this talented crop of players.
After a summer spent travelling to Croatia and Germany, there were anxious waits for players waiting to see if they’d done enough to get onto Patrick’s first competitive EDS teamsheet.
There was good news for 17-year old Angus Gunn who claimed the number 1 jersey, while Jordy Hiwula was given the opportunity to continue his red-hot pre-season scoring streak on his return from an eight-month lay-off in attack.
Emyr Huws was fielded in the midfield anchor role, while Marcos Lopes, Sinan Bytyqi, Seko Fofana and Albert Rusnak provided support to Hiwula.
Mathias Bossaerts captained the team as he has all summer alongside his Belgian compatriot Jason Denayer, while England youth international full-backs Greg Leigh and Shay Facey also claimed starting berths.
City put their best foot forward and began the game with incredible intensity, not giving the Cottagers a second on the ball, pressing high up the field and winning the ball back in advanced areas.
This pressure almost told as early as the fourth minute when Rusnak hit a shot which had Neil Etheridge in the Fulham goal scrambling but it whistled a foot past the post.
There were further chances for Hiwula and Lopes but it was Fofana who came closest to giving City an early lead.
The Frenchman, who recently won the Player of the Tournament award at the Oberndorf Tournament, pickpocketed Stephen Arthurworrey and smashed a ferocious effort which beat Etheridge but not the post.
These warning shots were not served in vain, as Hiwula fired City into the lead on the half-hour mark.
Although it was a neat enough finish from the striker, the goal was all about Fofana, who powered his way past two defenders before laying the ball on for Jordy to score City’s first goal of the season.
There was a swagger about City in that first-half, an air of confidence underpinned with a desire to start the season in style.
This attractive approach continued after the break and Marcos Lopes almost doubled the advantage immediately from the restart.
The Portuguese starlet actually scuffed his shot but it still nearly found the far corner.
On 58 minutes, Hiwula had a golden opportunity for his second but Etheridge saved well after Jordy had shown great pace and skill to get clear.
This missed opportunity was the start of a minute-long passage of play which proved decisive.
After Etheridge's save, Fulham raced forward on the counter and the ball fell to Cauley Woodrow, who took a touch to get the ball out of his feet before unleashing an unstoppable low shot under the onrushing Gunn to level the match.
It was a cruel blow for City to concede against the run of play from a rare Fulham foray forward and their reaction to this setback would surely dictate the final destination of the points.
Unfortunately for Vieira’s men, that equaliser seemed to give the visitors confidence and ushered in the Londoners’ best spell of the game.
Their turnaround was complete 20 minutes from time, when Woodrow headed in Fulham’s second to make it 2-1 after the Blues failed to clear a corner.
City battled on in search of a response and were millimeters from levelling when Wales u21 midfielder Huws curled in a delightful cross-field pass but Leigh couldn’t quite reach it at the back post to convert.
Despite the home side’s domination of possession and the greater number of chances over the 90 minutes, there was no way back and Fulham held on for an opening day win.
City EDS are next in action a week on Monday away at Spurs.