- Match reports
- Sat 27 Oct 2012, 3:06PM
- Posted by Mark Booth
Louis Hutton’s 87th minute free-kick cancelled out Middlesbrough’s half-time lead in an entertaining, open game on Saturday afternoon.
Temperatures may have dropped close to freezing in Manchester all of a sudden but there wasn’t one pair of gloves on show in a hot-blooded encounter between two competitive teams.
Patrick Vieira and City EDS boss Attilio Lombardo certainly were sporting gloves and scarves on the sidelines as they ran the rule on the next crop of Academy starlets.
Adam Sadler’s men came out on top 1-0 in a tight encounter in the North East when the teams last met, with the game being settled by an incredible solo effort from Jose Angel Pozo.
The Academy’s policy of keenly promoting youngsters through the age-groups continued with the inclusion of Yvan Wassi at left-back and the versatile, dreadlocked man acquitted himself well against Middlesbrough’s trademark tricky right winger.
Wassi has played in advanced positions lower down the age-groups and he showcased his will to get forward when he was played in by a deft lob from Jack Byrne but his cross was well intercepted by Boro keeper Bland on 15 minutes.
Boro's no.10 Warnett provided headaches for the City defence as he floated between the lines and he perhaps should have broken the deadlock after 20 minutes when he found himself one-on-one with the man celebrating his 18th birthday, goalkeeper Ian Lawlor.
City’s Irish stopper was quick off his line and made life difficult for the Boro no.10 and he slid his shot just a foot past the post.
If that was a let-off for the Blues but only a reprieve as O’Neil gave the visitors the lead right on the stroke of half-time.
This goal was all about Jones, Middlesbrough’s left winger, who evaded two challenges and squared for O’Neil to tap in from close range.
It was a horrible time to concede but pleasingly, City started the second half on the front foot and seemed to be finding it easier to keep the ball and work the Middlesbrough midfield. Horsfield, Hutton and Smith were winning their 50-50s and City were soon creating chances.
McHale was unfortunate not to score a breathtaking goal on the hour mark when his sublime control created space for him to unleash a powerful volley that Bland did well to keep out.
A few minutes later, more combative work from Wassi nearly provided the equaliser for City, as the full-back won the ball back in the Boro final third but a well-timed last ditch tackle denied him the chance to shoot with the goal gaping.
Horsfield was next to go close but his volley from the edge of the box was deflected agonizingly wide for a corner and moments later McHale had Bland scrambling again but the keeper’s strong wrists kept his effort out.
City finally broke through the Boro resistance in the 87th minute when Louis Hutton struck home from a drilled free-kick from 25 yards out.
Through sheer perseverance and a moment of quality, the Blues had rescued a deserved point.
City under-18s are next in action at home to Chelsea next Saturday morning.