Ambrose 27mins, Intima 33mins, 88mins, Byrne 62mins
- Match reports
- 08 March 2014 15:28
- Posted by @porter_mcfc / pics by @VHaydn_MCFC
City u18s returned to winning ways with a thumping 4-0 win over Boro under wintry skies at Platt Lane.
The young Blues were clinical in an opening half of few good chances, but a stylish attacking performance in the second period saw them very worthy winners thanks to a brace from Jorge Intima, and a goal apiece for top scorer Thierry Ambrose and Ireland youth international Jack Byrne.
Jason Wilcox’s men were looking to bounce back after last week’s defeat to Everton, when an early goal from Olivier Ntcham proved mere consolation as the Toffees turned things around with a goal in each half.
Since then, a number of the young squad have travelled around Europe to represent their countries, so Wilcox shuffled his pack for this visit of Boro.
There were five changes from the side that started on Merseyside – Ashley Smith-Brown was given a rest after his exertions for England, which meant a chance for Cameron Humphries to impress at right back. Nathaniel Oseni partnered Mathias Bossaerts in the centre of defence, while Kean Bryan moved to left back.
After impressing for Norway in the past few days, Martin Samuelsen pushed his way into the starting midfield alongside Jack Byrne and Denzeil Boadu, while Intima replaced Bersant Celina on the right wing.
The game was slow to get going, with both sides feeling their way into a cagey opening 20 minutes. Byrne had City’s first real chance, but after seeing his initial shot blocked his second attempt was wayward. Brandon Barker had a trademark powerful, low effort saved at the second attempt by Joe Fryer in the Boro goal, while Ambrose had a shot blocked but the corner came to nothing.
It took a pinpoint cross from Bryan to break the deadlock after 27 minutes – the makeshift left back’s excellent delivery found Ambrose climbing highest at the far post to power an unstoppable header into the back of the net.
Boro might have restored parity almost immediately were it not for a vital block from Oseni on Mandal, while Jordon Jowers could only hit the post with his header from close range.
Instead, the visitors found themselves two down, after French striker Ambrose released Boadu, and Intima made no mistake from his lay off, shooting first time under the keeper and into the net.
If the first half was not much of a spectacle, the match exploded into life minutes after the restart. Fired up after Wilcox’s team talk, the lively Barker forced Fryer into two acrobatic saves in quick succession. The England u18 winger’s brilliant first effort came from the left hand side of the box, while his second from a more central position was even better and the Boro stopper was forced into an unorthodox save with his legs.
City were finally rewarded for some quick, attacking moves just after the hour mark. The Teessiders failed to clear a corner, and after a scramble in a crowded penalty area the ball fell to Byrne, who lashed it home for the goal his midfield performance deserved.
Not content to sit back and see out the victory, the City forward line surged forward in search of a fourth. Byrne might have had another minutes later but his effort was narrowly over the crossbar, before sub Yvan Wassi drove forward half the length of the pitch before feeding Intima, and his cross found Barker lurking in the six yard box once more only to find the gloves of Fryer.
The Blues turned in a thoroughly dominant second half display, but Boro should have pulled one back through substitute Luke Armstrong, who ran past the line of defenders but somehow skewed his shot wide with the goal gaping.
City were finally rewarded with the fourth minutes from the end, when great work from Boadu and Barker on the left hand side saw the ball fall to Intima at the edge of the box, who made no mistake in finding the net for the second time in an afternoon.
Wilcox will have been pleased with his side’s response to last week’s defeat, and the young squad will be aiming to build on this result when they face Wolves next Saturday.