Lopes (pen) 29mins
Turnbull 44mins, Stephens 90+2 mins
- Match reports
- 10 March 2014 21:03
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc / pics by @vhaydn_mcfc
City’s 12-game winning streak is at an end after Southampton came back from a goal down to defeat the Blues at the Etihad Stadium.
Marcos Lopes had given City the lead from the penalty spot after half an hour, but goals in the in the dying stage of both halves wrestled the game away and gave the visitors the three points, meaning it was unlucky no.13 for the Elite Development Squad.
Continuity had been key to the winning run Patrick Vieira’s side were on going into this Monday night clash under the Etihad Stadium lights.
Without an under-21 game since the dramatic comeback triumph over Newcastle in the cup on 21 February, the Frenchman showed no willingness to deviate from this winning formula, making just one enforced change to his line-up.
Spanish full-back Angelino came into the XI at left-back in place of the suspended Greg Leigh, joining Adam Drury, Jason Denayer and Shay Facey in front of Ian Lawlor – a back four which has shipped just six goals in their last 12 games.
Southampton’s recent successes at Academy level are well documented and provide compelling evidence that producing players for club and country outweighs the importance of winning trophies at youth level.
Youth products Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers, Sam Gallagher and James Ward-Prowse have all clocked up Premier League minutes this season, meaning that the Blues were facing off against the newest up-and-coming batch on this prolific production line.
City could also point to success on this score too, considering that six of their matchday squad were involved in youth internationals last week.
Saints were lying in eighth place coming into this encounter, five points behind City, having played a game more, while Vieira’s men knew that a 13th consecutive win could propel them back within a point of the table summit.
With first-team management in attendance from the first-tier, City were eager to impress in the early exchanges and Drury nearly created the opening goal after five minutes when he wriggled to the byline and crossed but there were no takers on his driven-in centre.
"From there, the game descended into a deadlock with neither side able to impose themselves and assert dominance on the opposition, chances were hard to come by and moves seem to break down as soon as they entered the final thirds."
...City EDS v Southampton...
Cole, who netted on his England u19s debut last week and has scored four goals in his last five City appearances was the man to make the first decisive impact on the game with the half-hour approaching when he turned inside Jason McCarthy, who hauled him down just inside the area.
Lopes took captain’s responsibility and banished memories of his missed spot-kick against Stoke by opting for power, smashing it down the centre past Chris Johns in the Southampton goal for his tenth of the campaign.
That goal seemed to breed confidence through the collective veins and suddenly passes were hitting their mark, overlapping runners were being found and City were winning the 50/50 battles.
A flurry of City half chances fell to Hiwula, Drury and Cole - however, the visitors came closest to the second goal on the counter in the 38th minute when Lloyd Isgrove cut inside Angelino and found himself through on goal but Lawlor stood tall and stretched out a toe to turn away the winger’s goalbound strike.
That proved to be just a warning shot as the visitors did eventually level a minute before the break courtesy of their central defender Turnbull who tapped home Jake Sinclair’s headed knockdown from close range after Saints had broken the City offside trap.
"Despite that late set-back in the first-half, the home side came out on the front foot and immediately set about putting Southampton under pressure – Denayer stepping up to make the extra man in midfield when required and enabling the Blues to dominate possession of the ball."
...City EDS v Southampton...
Although his side were seeing plenty of the ball, clear chances were still at a premium, so Vieira decided to make an alteration in the 59th minute, bringing Kean Bryan on in place of Hiwula.
That allowed Cole to take up the central striker role, with Lopes shunting out onto the right wing and Bytyqi swapping flanks to the left.
Fofana came close to edging City noses back in front when he found a yard of space on the edge of the area after 71 minutes but his right-footed shot just missed the far post by inches and Lopes worked John with a long-range effort seven minutes later as Vieira’s men ratcheted up the pressure.
In the closing stages a succession of crosses into the area from Bytqyi, Bryan, Angelino were defended with distinction by the Southampton backline and when Bryan found Drury on the right, he cut back for Lopes to strike but again, the visitors had a man on hand to deflect his shot wide.
Southampton piled forward in additional time and only an excellent last ditch tackle from Ntcham prevented a last minute goal.
However, the relief would be short-lived, as Jack Stephens rose to head the resulting corner past Lawlor to end City’s invincible run.