Ambrose 43mins, Intima 70mins, Smith-Brown 85mins, Ambrose 88mins
- Match reports
- 07 December 2013 18:21
- Posted by @roline_mcfc
City climbed to the summit of the Under-18 Premier League North after a thumping 4-1 victory over Middlesbrough at Rockliffe Park, despite falling behind to an early goal.
Jorge Intima, Ash Smith-Brown and Thierry Ambrose found the net for the second week in succession, with the latter scoring a brace, but Jason Wilcox's side had to come from a goal down to claim the three points.
The Blues went into the match in the knowledge that a win would take them top of the league and Wilcox made a handful of changes from the side that beat Everton last weekend with Angus Gunn, Mathias Bossaerts and Jack Byrne returned to the starting line-up. Pablo Maffeo dropped to the bench, whilst Nathaniel Oseni took his place in the centre of defence.
Both sides started the game brightly and it was end-to-end action for the opening minutes. City’s first chance of the game fell to Angelino but the left-back’s effort was deflected into the arms of the goalkeeper.
There was a lengthy delay shortly afterwards as Kean Bryan suffered an injury and he was later replaced at half-time.
The Blues began to take a foothold in the game after ten minutes but they were dealt a blow as Middlesbrough hit on the counter-attack, opening the scoring with Bradley Fewster's low finish into the bottom corner.
City responded well to going behind but they struggled to create any clear-cut chances. A series of corners and dangerous crosses led to nothing and Bryan and Brandon Barker both saw their efforts fly wide of the target.
The visitors finally found an equaliser just before half-time. Barker displayed some excellent footwork down the left, beating several Middlesbrough defenders before squaring for Ambrose who bundled the ball into the net.
It was no more than Wilcox’s men deserved and the Blues pushed on for a winner in the second half, but the hosts defended stoutly and just past the hour they almost regained the lead with a sharp counter-attack that saw a presentable chance squandered.
Then, on 70 minutes, the Blues were finally rewarded when Ambrose played Intima through and the Portuguese youngster fired a shot into the near post to make it 2-1.
From then on, Middlesbrough pushed for an equaliser but in doing so, they left themselves open at the back and City again capitalised with five minutes to go.
After some neat one-touch football, Smith-Brown burst forward and planted a curling effort into the far corner to give the Blues some breathing space and all-but seal the victory.
The icing on the cake came when Barker's shot was parried back to Ambrose who made no mistake with the rebound to make it 4-1 and earn City's seventh win on the bounce.
Ever the perfectionist, coach Jason Wilcox was disappointed with the goal that City conceded but overall, was pleased with the result.
“Before the game, our objective was to win and to go top of the league,” he said. “I want my players to play under a little bit of pressure like that but I want to make sure they play our way.
“Pressure helps them to develop as players because playing under that spotlight, knowing that you have to keep winning, is a good pressure to have.
“I thought we created lots of chances today and the work we’ve done on pressing from the front was evident today. Middlesbrough resorted to going long a lot.
“I thought the lads were fantastic. They’ve done everything I asked them to do and it’s up to me to keep driving them on. The team spirit is really good.”