Glendon 18mins, Bytyqi 24mins, Guidetti 55mins, Hiwula 82mins
- Match reports
- 06 December 2013 20:49
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc, pictures by @vhaydn_mcfc
John Guidetti continued his comeback by playing an influential, goalscoring role in City Elite Development Squad’s rousing 4-1 win over Middlesbrough.
Goals from George Glendon, Sinan Bytyqi, Guidetti and Jordy Hiwula enabled Patrick Vieira’s men to kick off their festive calendar with a much-needed three points to illuminate a biting, soggy night at Hyde’s Ewen Fields.
City came into this game having played three fewer games than many teams in the Barclays u21 Premier League, so were looking to climb up from their somewhat misleading position of 19th place in the table.
A win would take the Blues up to 16th and put three points between themselves and the visitors, Stewart Parnaby’s Middlesbrough.
Fresh from his hilarious Christmas karaoke efforts on CityTV, Guidetti lined up as the number 9 in a front three to make his second appearance at under-21 level this season.
The Swedish striker scored twice for his nation’s under-21 selection against Malta in the last international break but has only made one appearance for the Blues at any level this season – in the 3-0 win away at Norwich City on 1 November.
Elsewhere in attack, Vieira would have been delighted to be able to welcome back Marcos Lopes to his XI after the Portuguese youth international’s six-week injury lay-off.
In the absence of in-form Jason Denayer, fellow Belgian Dedryck Boyata also returned to the fold alongside Shay Facey in the centre of defence, while Emyr Huws anchored the midfield behind George Glendon and Albert Rusnak.
"It was a slightly older, more experienced line-up than Vieira has typically fielded in the competition so far this season but this was hardly surprising, given the crucial UEFA Youth League decider coming up on Tuesday afternoon."
...City EDS v Middlesbrough..
Despite this rotation, City made a bright, fluent start to the game, with Rusnak almost giving his side the lead within a minute.
Neat work from Bytyqi on the left presented the Slovakian playmaker with the opportunity to pick his spot from just inside the area but Adam Jackson bravely threw himself in front of the goalbound attempt and deflected it to safety.
City didn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough and when it came in the 18th minute, Guidetti was the architect.
The Swede twisted and turned on the left byline to shake off his marker and create space for the cross which was drilled in for Glendon to head home from close range.
Six minutes later and the advantage was doubled courtesy of a moment of individual brilliance from Bytyqi.
The Austrian dropped his shoulder and brought the ball inside from the left wing, before firing an unstoppable shot towards the far post from outside the area which Jason Leitweiler got fingertips to, but couldn’t keep out.
While Guidetti may not have hit all of the right notes in his rendition of Mariah Carey’s seminal festive hit, he was clearly enjoying his run-out in these familiar surroundings in the first-half, playing a vital orchestral role in all of the best of City’s build-up play.
"Such was the 21-year old’s confidence; there was even time for one decadent, improvised flick with his back to goal which went wide of the target but momentarily brought to mind a certain other extravagant Swedish striker."
...City EDS v Middlesbrough..
However, there was more to City’s dominant first-half showing than the number 9 – Greg Leigh and Adam Drury’s lung-busting overlaps gave the Blues the extra man in attacks on countless occasions, while Rusnak and Glendon mischievously pried for openings in the centre of the pitch.
Ian Lawlor had been a virtual spectator for long stretches of the first-half and had yet to make a save when the teams returned to the dressing room for the break.
Guidetti struck the crossbar with an excellent free-kick two minutes into the second period before Middlesbrough halved the deficit with their first shot on goal three minutes later.
Mark Kitching raced onto a long ball over the top, squeezing between Boyata and Facey, before keeping his composure to slot past Lawlor.
This narrow scoreline only lasted for five minutes because Guidetti finally got the goal his performance deserved when he thrashed in a rebound off the goalkeeper from a Rusnak drive.
To be fair to the visitors, they never gave up hope of getting back into the game but the home side completed the scoring courtesy of second half substitute Jordy Hiwula who rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into the empty net with eight minutes left on the clock.
Tuesday’s UEFA Youth League decider in Germany is up next for Vieira and a number of the participants in this eagerly-fought clash.
Draw, and a place in the knockout rounds after Christmas is the reward.