Newcastle United 0
- Match reports
- 14 April 2014 20:58
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc / pics by @dankingNUFC
City EDS warmed up for the second leg of their u21 Premier League Cup final against Reading with a goalless draw away at Newcastle.
In a match where chances were few and far between, the Blues kept themselves in the hunt for a play-off place but missed the chance to move back into the top four of the u21 Premier League table.
Both teams were reduced to long range efforts for most of the night until a late cavalry charge from the away side which saw Devante Cole hit the crossbar with a header in added time but in the end, they had to be satisfied with just one point.
It was a result that neither enhances or particularly harms City's chances of qualification for the final four-team tournament, though Manchester United are now level on points with them in fifth.
EDS boss Patrick Vieira made five changes from the side that beat Reading 3-2 in the thrilling first leg of the u21 League Cup final on Thursday night.
Perhaps with half an eye on the second leg coming up at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the Frenchman opted to leave Adam Drury, Jason Denayer, Greg Leigh, Olivier Ntcham and Jordy Hiwula out of the starting XI.
Earlier in the campaign, City recovered a two-goal deficit to defeat the hosts 3-2 at the same venue to book their place in the semi-final of the afore-mentioned Premier League Cup.
After occupying a place in the top four on a regular basis over the past few months, City had dropped to sixth before a ball was kicked on Tyneside by virtue of having played up to three games less than the teams above them.
"With the league reaching its final stages, the Blues knew that wins in their remaining three matches against Newcastle, Leicester City and Aston Villa would be enough for a place in the four-team finals at the end of the month."
...Newcastle v City EDS: Match report...
It was a slow start in the North East with few chances on goal – in fact, it was the 20th minute before either goalkeeper was worked; Fofana seeing his shot deflect off a defender and into Jonathan Mitchell’s grateful arms.
City almost grabbed a 32nd minute lead through Sinan Bytyqi from a Bossaerts cross but his close range header was blocked by Mitchell to maintain parity and then, three minutes before the break, Newcastle’s Greg Olley fired a warning shot onto the crossbar from 20 yards out.
George Glendon has enjoyed an excellent season in the heart of City’s midfield and he came close to opening the scoring with his fifth of the campaign seven minutes after the restart with a low, long range drive but it just drifted wide of the target.
Lawlor kept out a blistering strike and Ntcham forced a good save from Mitchell with an inventive snapshot as the light faded and the game petered out towards the stalemate the play had long promised.
However, the Blues created a flurry of late chances to win it but a combination of good goalkeeping and the woodwork prevented them from taking all three points back to Manchester.
Incredibly, it was City's first draw at under-21 level since the start of September.
They now lie in fifth with two matches to go, needing just a point to leapfrog Southampton into fourth - one of two catch-able teams above them to have completed their campaigns.
Next up, that trip to the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and an excellent chance of claiming the first silverware of their season.