Smith-Brown 35mins, Barker 58mins, Faupala 88mins
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- Match reports
- 07 February 2016 15:49
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
Brandon Barker was the star man for Simon Davies’s Elite Development Squad, scoring one and assisting two, as City clinched a hugely impressive 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield.
City took the lead ten minutes before the half-time break when Ashley Smith-Brown netted at the end of an intricate move.
It was the very least the away side deserved from of a totally dominant first half in which Barker, Bersant Celina and Angelino forced Hungarian international goalkeeper Adam Bodgan into a number of fine saves.
Liverpool enjoyed a little spell of their own after the break but Barker’s stunning goal on the hour mark, made possible by a glorious assist from Aleix Garcia, took the wind from the hosts’ sails and settled the game as a contest.
Substitute David Faupala put the icing on the cake and gave the scoreline a fairer reflection two minutes from time, turning and firing in at the end of a lightning City counter-attack.
EDS boss Davies was able to welcome back Kean Bryan to the fold following his recent injury troubles as the sole change to the line-up which started the win over Reading at the end of January.
There was also good news to be found on the bench where Manu Garcia’s name appeared on the teamsheet for the first time since mid-December.
Elsewhere, Bersant Celina led the line 24 hours on from his Premier League debut against Leicester where he made the assist for Kun Aguero’s header late on.
City weathered something of a storm in the early minutes before starting to assert themselves, with the left-sided combination of Angelino and Barker wreaking havoc on increasingly regular occasions.
It was from this source that the Blues nearly took a 23rd minute lead when the Spanish full-back played in the England youth international with a measured long ball but Barker was unfortunate to see his attempted chip go over the top of the bar.
There were further chances for Glendon and Bytyqi in the five minutes that followed but a combination of Bodgan in the Liverpool goal and some desperate blocks from his defenders kept the score level.
That was until the 35th minute when Smith-Brown finished off a lovely move involving Barker and Angelino in similarly impressive style, jinking in from the left and firing across Bogdan into the far corner to give his team a deserved lead.
Barker in particular, and not for the first time against Liverpool, ensured a torrid afternoon for his opposition full-back, beating him with pace and trickery time and time again to send launch City attacks.
Liverpool started the second half strong, pressing City’s defenders to force mistakes and they nearly equalised a few minutes after the restart when Harry Wilson crossed but Sinclair fired over under pressure.
The Blues were, on occasion, found guilty of being slightly overly elaborate in their defensive third leading to unnecessary pressure from the hosts but City doubled their lead on their first meaningful attack of the second half through the excellent Barker.
Aleix Garcia launched a glorious raking long ball over the top and there was Brandon, who took a stunning first touch with his chest to put him clear, before he coolly slotted around the onrushing Bogdan.
It was a goal befitting of a special individual performance from the Mancunian.
The 19-year old was inches away from doubling his tally courtesy of a sublime lob over Bodgan with seven minutes left on the clock but it was cleared off the line.
That was just a respite for Liverpool, however, as Barker teed up Faupala following good work from Angelino for a brilliant third goal with two minutes left until full-time.
Those three points see City leapfrog Spurs and Everton into third place in the U21 Premier League table - the perfect preparation for Thursday’s night U21 Manchester derby.