Nuttall 3 mins, 24 mins, 59 mins, Celina 10 mins,
- Match reports
- Sat 16 Feb 2013, 1:42PM
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
Joe Nuttall grabbed a hattrick as City Under 18s beat Arsenal 4-1 at Platt Lane to secure the first points of the league’s second phase.
It was a welcome return to winning ways for Adam Sadler’s side, as the Blues had been unable to prevent losses to Newcastle and Aston Villa in the two post-Christmas fixtures, despite spirited second half fightbacks.
With both clubs unafraid to promote players above their age groups, there was a youthful feel to the two lineups.
But some of City’s youngsters are certainly no stranger to this level – Nathaniel Oseni, Tosin Adarabioyo, Sam Tattum and Brandon Barker all featured last week against Villa.
The young Blues side seized their opportunity within 3 minutes. Barker excelled on the right wing, holding off several defenders to pull off a good cross, which was diverted behind. From the resulting corner Joe Nuttall arrived to head home strongly at the far post.
Bersant Celina doubled the advantage for City after 10 minutes. He was brought down in the box, and then stepped up to strike the resulting penalty into the far corner of the net, having sent the keeper the wrong way.
It was an impressive first half showing from the young side, who showed great composure on the ball and were committed to winning it back as soon as they lost possession.
They were further rewarded with Nuttall’s second and City’s third goal arriving after just 24 minutes, the striker hitting a strong shot into the net from long range.
Arsenal couldn’t create many opportunities, mainly thanks to good work from the home team, but an uncertain five minutes just before half time saw the deficit reduced.
Kaylen Hinds grabbed one back for the Gunners, his shot just creeping in past the post despite the best efforts of Charlie Albinson in goal.
The visitors could have had a second just three minutes later, the ball just going wide.
But City made sure there would be no second half comeback for their opponents as they regained their composure and assured passing after the restart.
Although Albinson was called upon occasionally, notably with an impressive save at feet after Arsenal substitute Olomola had forced his way through several players, City generally reduced their opponents to a few meagre opportunities while going forward in search of more themselves.
Celina had a shot cannon back off the bar after running the length of the field down the left and forcing his way inside, while Barker fired one just over the top from long range.
Nuttall put the finishing flourish on the second half, getting his hattrick just before the hour mark with another header, after Tasende’s cross from the left.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory for a young side, and Adam Sadler’s team will be looking to build on an impressive performance in the next league match against Blackburn next week.