Cup defeat for young Cats

by Kate Smith

Strong City side overturn Sunderland.

Manchester City U18 3 Sunderland U18 1

Sunderland were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by an experienced Manchester City side following a spirited display at a bitterly cold Edgeley Park.

The Black Cats, who were knocked out of the same competition by the Blues in 2008, knew they were in for a tough test upon seeing the City teamsheet, which boasted a number of players from their Elite Development Squad, including stylish striker Jose Angel Pozo, who City brought over to their academy from Real Madrid, and Austrian youth international Sinan Bytyqui.

Tom McNamee skippered the Black Cats for the clash at the home of Stockport County and there was a good solid start to the game from Sunderland as they began very confidently.

George Honeyman made a number of in-roads down the right flank and he was unlucky not to penetrate the City backline after drilling a ball across the front of goal only for it to be cleared away by stopper Ian Lawlor.

Moments later Reece Noble was able to find space to thread the ball through to Michael Mandron on the edge of the area but the Sunderland man was caught offside.

It didn’t take City long to respond with a number of their own efforts.

A quickly taken corner forced goalkeeper Johnny Maddison into a great save as he was quick to react when he pushed away Bytyqi’s powerful effort.

The Sunderland stopper was kept on his toes following a barrage of City efforts on goal. He leapt to seize a shot from Devante Cole - son of former Sunderland and City striker Andy - and did well to deny Pozo and Rekik who both had shots in quick succession.

The hosts were rewarded for their endeavour in front of goal as Cole did well to hold up the ball and square it across to Bytyqi, who coolly slotted home from 10 yards out to give his side the lead just after the first quarter.

Sunderland battled to get back in the game and carved out a number of chances with Honeyman impressing with his crosses into the box.

However, the Black Cats were dealt a cruel blow just on the stroke of half time when Pozo doubled City’s advantage as he turned to fire the ball home from 20 yards out leaving Maddison with no chance.

Sunderland coach Craig Liddle changed things around after the break, with Nathan Thomas joining the action.

However, City started with the same impetus they finished the first half with.

Sunderland did well to weather the City storm as Olivier Ntcham watched his powerful long range shot blaze wide at the post and Pozo continued to terrorise the visitors.

The Spaniard used his vision to unleash Bytyqi as he fired a shot at Maddison’s legs and was again the architect as Lopes drove a potent ball wide of the Sunderland goal

Substitute Thomas did well to create a chance for his side at the opposite end as he sliced the ball right at keeper Lawlor.

However, City were quick to win back possession and Marcos Lopes finally got his name on the score sheet when he hammered the ball into roof of net from inside penalty area to make it 3-0.

To the visitors’ credit, they kept plugging away and managed to reduce the deficit almost instantly when Mandron remained calm under pressure to skip over Lawlor and send the ball into the back of the net with 20 minutes to go.

Sunderland were unable to build on the strike and City did well to hold on the victory and seal a place in the next round of the competition.

Manchester City: Lawlor, Boassaert, Leigh, Evans, Plummer, Rekik (C), Ntcham, Bityqi, Cole, Lopes, Pozo

Subs: Marin, Gunn, Byrne, Barker, Bryan

Sunderland: Maddison, Noble, Lane, Cartwright , Burn, McNamee (C), Smith, Agnew, Mandron, Honeyman, Gooch.

Subs: Thomas, Burke, Holland, Robson, Hope