Preston 40mins, 78mins, 87mins
Horsfield 4mins (pen), Ambrose 26mins, 38mins, 43mins, Intima 68mins
- Match reports
- 23 November 2013 14:03
- Posted by @porter_mcfc / pics by @VHaydn_mcfc
City u18s struck five times against Blackburn to make it five wins on the bounce.
A first half hattrick from Thierry Ambrose, and a goal apiece from James Horsfield and Jorge Intima ensured the young Blues took the three points back to Manchester after triumphing in an eight goal thriller.
City were looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat suffered on the last trip to Brockhall in April, while aiming to extend an unbeaten run that goes back to 28 September.
Super sub Denzeil Boadu won a starting berth in midfield after his stunning impact last time out, while Billy O’Brien returned from international duty with Wales u19s to take his position between the sticks, and Nathaniel Oseni came in to partner Charlie Oliver in the centre of defence.
Kean Bryan and Angelino were promised 45 minutes each after their exertions with the EDS in the u21 Premier League Cup on Thursday night, while Brandon Barker and Jorge Intima reprised their roles on either wing to support Ambrose up front.
A healthy layer of frost on the ground greeted the two sides who faced off in the stunning surroundings of the Ribble Valley.
Wilcox’s men got off to a dream start when they were awarded a penalty after just four minutes. Intima stole the ball in his own half and ran the length of the pitch before being felled in the area, and Horsfield made no mistake from the spot to give the visitors an early lead.
The action was end-to-end in the early stages, with both teams having designs on goal. Angelino’s brilliant free kick fizzed across the box for City, while Ash Smith-Brown made a crucial block at the other end to deny the Rovers striker bearing down on goal.
Intima might have doubled the advantage on the 16 minute mark when he connected well with an Angelino corner, but his volleyed shot was wide.
It only took Ambrose a further ten minutes to make his mark on the fixture, connecting with Brandon Barker’s cross and giving the keeper no chance with his powerful header. He doubled his tally after 38 minutes with a carbon copy of his first – although this time the cross was from Intima on the right wing.
The hosts were stirred into life and hit back almost immediately. It appeared to be the day for headed goals, with Jordan Preston grabbing another from a cross on the left wing, after Rovers had hit the post just a minute earlier.
With half time approaching and the advantage now reduced to two goals, Ambrose took charge again. His initial shot was saved but the Frenchman showed great composure to get hold of the ball, round the scrambling keeper and slide the ball home at the second attempt.
Half time gave the players (and spectators) a chance to catch their breath after a frenetic finish to the opening period. Bryan’s introduction required a slight reshuffle, with Smith-Brown swapping his midfield berth for a left back slot in the second 45.
City showed Blackburn no respite and surged forward again. Barker seized the ball on the left wing, twisted inside and fired the ball straight down the goalkeeper’s throat, while Ambrose had a shot blocked and Smith-Brown couldn’t quite connect with the rebound.
The man between the sticks for Rovers certainly had a busy afternoon, gathering Barker’s low cross close to his chest before the England youth international shot wildly over the bar.
Wilcox’s men were dominant, and when the fifth finally arrived after 68 minutes it was worth waiting for. Denzeil Boadu jinked his way free in the centre and skilfully played in Intima, who finished magnificently into the far corner.
The action was unrelenting, and only a perfectly-timed tackle from Oliver stopped Rovers grabbing a second almost immediately. The hosts remained undeterred and Preston added his and his team’s second twelve minutes from time, firing home the rebound after O’Brien had made a good initial save.
Preston worked hard all afternoon, and ensured he got his hattrick just before the end after City lost possession in dangerous territory leaving the Blackburn striker with only O’Brien to beat.
City might have added a sixth as the final whistle approached – Bryan robbed the ball in the centre circle and charged through the defence only to see his shot beaten away while Boadu forced the goalkeeper into a magnificent save with his low shot.
Next up for the young Blues is a clash with Everton, who visit Platt Lane on Saturday 30 November.