Derby County 2
Wixted 47mins, Hanson 90mins
- Match reports
- 26 February 2013 20:56
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
City u18s showed plenty of pride in battle at the home of Derby County but made their exit from the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night.
The tie was settled courtesy of a 47th minute strike by Adam Wixted and a last minute free-kick by Jamie Hanson to end City's involvement at the fifth round stage for the second successive season.
Jose Angel Pozo was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident after 85 minutes to cap a disappointing night for the academy.
City’s XI showed just one enforced change from the team that took on Burnley in the last round of the competition back on 10 January, with Mathias Bossaerts stepping in for on-loan Karim Rekik at the heart of the back four.
Elsewhere, Attilio Lombardo and Adam Sadler opted to field Marcos Lopes, Olivier Ntcham, Sinan Bytyqi and in-form Pozo in behind Devante Cole upfront, with George Evans protecting the defence in the centre of midfield.
Against the Clarets in Round Four, two spectacular moments of individual quality from Lopes and Pozo saw the Blues through against a stubborn defensive outfit but this time City had plenty of defending to do themselves against a talented home side.
The game began brightly though as City had a great chance to open the scoring after just six minutes when Cole ran onto an incisive through ball by Lopes but Ross Etheridge spread himself well and prevented the striker from rounding him.
Derby responded and began to get on top, with their pressure almost telling when the Rams first-team's youngest-ever scorer Mason Bennett fired against the outside of the post when he was played through on goal after nine minutes.
Darren Wassall had clearly briefed his men to press City hard and not to allow any time on the ball as no sooner had a pass been received than a white shirt was nipping at maroon heel and ankle.
This tenacious approach meant that Lombardo’s men had to wait until the 37th minute of the half for another decent chance to fall their way but Pozo’s free-kick was headed over the bar before troubling Etheridge in the home goal.
Neither side had mustered a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes – a fact that may have owed to a knockout game’s inherent caginess, the Rams’ resilience in defence and their lack of precision in front of goal.
The second half promised to be a more open affair with the carrot of that quarter-final tie against Chelsea looming ever-larger and the home side found an opening just two minutes after the restart.
Kwame Thomas hit the game’s first shot on target, drawing a wonderful save from Lawlor but, unfortunately for the Irishman, the ball rebounded out to Wixted who gleefully tapped home from a few yards out.
It was the first time City had gone behind in this year’s competition and they responded well to the set-back, finally starting to string passes together in midfield and find overlapping runs.
Kean Bryan was introduced after Ntcham limped off on 55 minutes and the England youth international nearly had an immediate impact, with his drilled effort drawing a very good save from Etheridge – his first of the night.
Finally City seemed to have nullified the Derby threat and managed to pin them back in their own half, with Evans’ growing influential from his quarter-back position and Bryan providing plenty of energy on the left.
However, the momentum was taken from City’s quest for an equaliser on 84 minutes when Pozo was shown a straight red card after he was judged to have left a foot in on Hanson.
It was game over five minutes later when Hanson himself curled in a free-kick on the right flank which Lawlor got hands to but couldn’t keep out.
On the balance of play, the home side probably edged it and will go on to contest the quarter-final against Chelsea next month.
City u18s will next be in action on Saturday afternoon when they take on Newcastle United, while City EDS will play Reading on Sunday.