HNK Gorica 0
Hiwula 27mins, 50mins & 83mins, Ambrose 58mins
- Match reports
- 19 July 2014 19:47
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc / pics by @vhaydn_mcfc
City Elite Development Squad kicked off their pre-season with a well-deserved win over Slovenian outfit, NK Gorica.
Jordy Hiwula scored a hat-trick and second half substitute Thierry Ambrose added the other two minutes after climbing off the bench to give the Blues a handsome 3-0 victory.
It was a year to the day since Patrick Vieira took charge of his second game in charge of the Elite Development Squad at the same venue.
On that occasion, his young side had gone down to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Gorica’s Croatian namesakes at the NK Novigrad Stadium - the picture postcard venue on the edge of the Adriatic Sea, a pleasant five minute stroll from the hotel which has been home to the Blues’ training camp for the past six days.
Although the game kicked off at 7pm local time, it was still a balmy evening in this beautiful corner of south east Croatia, although the conditions did nothing to spoil the quality of spectacle the assembled locals and holidaymakers were treated to.
It was once again a young selection on show as many of Vieira’s regular picks from 2013/14 had featured for the first-team in their 2-1 win over Hearts on Sunday night.
These absences allowed four of the new EDS professionals to start the game.
Ashley Smith-Brown, Kean Bryan, Angelino and Brandon Barker would all have been hoping to make starts on building their cases for inclusion in City’s Barclays u21 Premier League opener with eye-catching performances in front of their new boss.
City started the brighter, heaping pressure on the Slovenian defence from the outset.
Angelino and Seko Fofana both warmed the gloves of the goalkeeper with a couple of vicious efforts from range inside the first five minutes.
Olivier Ntcham also hit a piledriver after 18 minutes which struck a man on a ladder on a balcony behind the goal and flew into the flat, attached.
Thankfully, the unfortunate victim in question was unharmed and kindly returned the ball from inside his home, although one suspects City’s Parisian midfielder will not be on his Christmas card list.
City took a deserved lead after 27 minutes and it was a lovely team goal which put into practice the work Vieira’s man have been engaged in on this training camp.
Smith-Brown found Devante Cole on the right wing and the England u19 international picked out the deadly Hiwula in the middle.
The result was never in doubt as Jordy caressed the ball beyond the keeper into the bottom corner.
Eight minutes later, he nearly had a second but the post denied him after he’d found a yard of space in the area with his back to goal, swivelled and fired towards the bottom corner.
Five minutes after the break, the advantage was doubled and it was that man again, Hiwula, but this goal was all about Barker’s sensational wing play.
Barker wriggled his way into the penalty area down the left side, before cutting the ball across the goalkeeper – it looked as though his cross-cum-shot may have ended up in the back of the net anyway, but Jordy made sure, sliding in to convert from a yard out.
A raft of planned changes followed, allowing more opportunities for youngsters to impress.
One of them was Ambrose and he didn’t waste any time in grasping his moment, scoring with his first touch – a thumping header from a Barker cross.
Ambrose was at the centre of things again with seven minutes to go, teeing up Hiwula for his hat-trick with a brilliant cross which was gratefully headed into the empty net by the City no.9.
All in all, a pleasing workout for the team and plenty of positives to take into their final game in Croatia against NK Novigrad on Tuesday night.