Drury 27mins, Rusnak 64mins, Cole 75mins
- Match reports
- 10 January 2014 20:52
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
City EDS overcame torrid conditions and a spirited Wolves side to claim their fourth Barclays u21 Premier League win in a row at Hyde’s Ewen Fields on Friday.
Adam Drury gave City the lead midway through the first-half with a sublime individual goal, before Jamie O’Hara levelled ten minutes after the break.
Going into this game, Patrick Vieira’s men had been steadily growing into their league campaign, winning their last three games to fire themselves into the top half of the national competition.
City were level on points with Wolves in ninth place, having played a game less, and knew that three points could see them climb up as high as sixth.
It was a strong line-up named by Vieira with just two changes from the team that won their last under-21s’ league assignment 2-0 against West Brom at The Hawthorns on 15 December 2013.
After his encouraging cameo in the first-team’s 6-0 dismantling of West Ham, Marcos Lopes returned to under-21 action as the right prong on a front three, with Austrian forward Sinan Bytyqi on the opposite side in support of top-scorer Hiwula who led the line.
Meanwhile, Wolves named an experienced line-up which included ex-Spurs midfielder O’Hara, as well as Icelandic international winger, Bjorn Sigurdarson.
The home side made a confident start as the rain bucketed down onto turf which cut up more visibly with each passing minute.
Lopes thought he’d given City a seventh-minute lead with his powerful strike from just inside the penalty area but John Flatt made an excellent save to deny him and Rusnak couldn’t quite get there first to poke home the rebound.
Ten minutes later, the Blues nearly scored one of the team goals of the season but Hiwula couldn’t quite connect with Leigh’s near-post cross on the slide after most of the XI had a touch in a patient, intricate build-up.
Wolves were struggling to get out of their own half, with their every millisecond in possession seized upon by a hungry pack of sky blue shirts.
The intensity of City’s pressing and inherent desire to be on the ball was a recurring theme in the first-half, so too was the zip and accuracy of Vieira’s team’s passing and the lung-busting coverage of the flanks provided by Messrs Drury and Leigh.
A deserved opening goal was looking like a matter of time and when it finally came after 27 minutes, it was worth waiting for.
Drury’s pace and direct running was evident again as he sprinted forward with the ball from the right, played a neat one-two with Lopes, before opening up his body and curling it around Flatt just inside the Wolves box.
The visitors managed to put some pressure on the City goal with half-time approaching but O’Hara’s long range volley which clipped the top of the crossbar was as close as they came.
"At the break, City’s only cause for regret would be the slender winning margin, especially considering Flatt’s pair of flying stops to defy Lopes which bookended the half."
...City EDS v Wolves: Match report...
Leigh will probably still be wondering how he didn’t double City’s advantage inside the first minute of the second period after he skied his shot from the penalty spot following an inspired short corner routine engineered by Bytyqi and Rusnak.
Missed opportunities were rued ten minutes into the second half as O’Hara levelled the score with a stunning strike from 20 yards which looped over Lawlor and into the far top corner.
However, City managed to ride out the storm of Wolves’ best period in the game and retook the lead after 65 minutes when Rusnak showed excellent composure to slot past Flatt after a goalmouth scramble.
The Blues had the winning margin their play merited when Cole climbed off the bench to roll in the third after Hiwula’s close range shot was deflected into his path, meaning it didn’t matter too much when Bytyqi skied a penalty kick with two minutes to play.
City EDS aren’t in action again in the league until the 27th January when they travel across town for the Manchester derby.
In this devastating form, United won’t exactly be counting down the days…