Lopes 80mins (pen)
- Match reports
- 08 March 2013 16:00
- Posted by @porter_mcfc / pics by @vhaydn_mcfc
A penalty from Marcos Lopes rescued a point for City EDS in a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Newcastle U21s.
The young Blues took to the field on a grey and damp north-east day for a game that required floodlights despite kicking off at lunchtime.
They went down 3-0 at the Madejski stadium in the first league loss of 2013, meaning that a positive result on Tyneside was crucial to keep pace in the hunt for automatic qualification for the competition’s next stage.
Meanwhile Newcastle, managed by former City man Willie Donachie, were looking to build on mixed fortunes in the post-Christmas fixtures, recording a win, loss and a draw in their three games since the New Year.
Lombardo was forced into one change from the side who lost to the Royals after keeper Eirik Johansen agreed a loan move with Scunthorpe yesterday.
Ian Lawlor took his place between the posts, and George Evans and Kieran Kennedy also came into the starting line up. Jose Angel Pozo dropped to the bench.
The game was slow to get going, with few real chances for either side, but the Blues did have the best of the opening exchanges. Denis Suarez hit a shot straight at the keeper after good work down the left, and the Newcastle goalkeeper spilled a Lopes shot five minutes later, although he did gather at the second attempt.
But Newcastle took more of a hold on the game after the break forcing a number of saves from Lawlor, including an excellent punch after a strong shot on the edge of the area.
They profited by taking the lead just after the hour mark, a cracking shot from Shane Logan from 20 yards which sailed under the bar.
A double substitution lit the spark for the young Blues just five minutes later. Seko Fofana came on for his debut and was joined by Pozo as Lombardo’s men set off in the hunt for an equaliser.
Fofana made an immediate impact, curling just wide after excellent work on the left shortly after coming on, and then having another shot blocked just two minutes later.
The reward for their attacking play arrived in the 80th minute, when the referee awarded a penalty after Devante Cole was fouled.
Lopes had the confidence to step up despite missing a spotkick in the eventual win over Blackpool last month, and took an excellent penalty, shooting low and into the corner to level the scores.
City were keen to get the winner and had chances to do so, the best falling to Pozo when Lopes ran nearly the length of the field before releasing him down the right hand side, but his shot was saved well.
But Lawlor’s intervention was needed just five minutes from time to keep City level when he made a strong low stop to his right leaving the Newcastle forward line searching in vain for the rebound.
In the end both sides had to settle for a point, which means that City move into second place in Group 2 of the U21 Premier League.
They are next in action away to Norwich on 18 March.