Final Progress for EDS
Barclays Premier Reserve Under 21 Cup
Monday 1st April 2014
City: Lawlor, Bossaerts (Drury), Leigh (Tasende), Facey, Plummer, Glendon, Bytyqi, Fofana, Hiwula, Ntcham, Cole (Lopes)
Goals: Hiwula, Bytyqi(2)
Unused: O'Brien (GK), Denayer
City made a few changes for this semi-final Premier League Cup fixture against Burnley, and perhaps those changes in the spine of the team contributed to a rather stuttering over the line performance by City. The Blues eventually ran out winners, through another goal from Jordy Hiwula and a brace from man of the match Sinan Bytyqi. The win was enough to get City to a double-legged final against Reading.
City’s usual high tempo start to a game never really materialised on a ground where, just eight days earlier, they had a cut and thrust approach and tore Burnley’s East Lancs neighbours Blackburn Rovers apart with a resounding 6-0 victory.
Despite not having a fast tempo to their play, they did take a ninth minute lead when City attacked down the left centre and Fofana, who just a minute earlier had struck the outside of the post, released a ball through to Hiwula. The striker saw Bytyqi make an over-lapping run and played the ball into his path, as he powered his way into the area and drove a low hard shot into the far corner of the goal across Danijel Nizic.
Burnley gave a warning to City just a couple of minutes later when Nathan Lowe had a long range shot that went just wide of Ian Lawlor’s post. That goal came, however, just ten minutes later and what a goal it was. Burnley right back Cameron Dummigan got forward and unleashed a top drawer strike that moved in the air and found the far corner of the net to leave Lawlor grasping at air.
City were now struggling to get the ball out of defence at times. George Glendon was dropping deep to receive the ball from Lawlor but none of his midfield teammates were dropping into the big space before the half way line to give him an outlet to release the ball forward. Burnley pressed high up the pitch, and the ball was nervously going back to Lawlor far too often. It was no surprise that City were just offering long range shots as the pressure grew.
Despite Burnley threatening to take the lead, it was actually City that made that extra bit of quality tell. They attacked with pace down the right hand side and Mathias Bossaerts had got himself in a forward position. When Bytyqi received the ball, he got the defender on the back foot and played a lovely weighted ball for Mathias to run onto. Bossaerts got to the by-line before pulling it back for Hiwula to power a shot in from close range.
City should have doubled their advantage inside two minutes of the restart with another strong run by Sinan Bytyqi on the right. He ran into area and pulled back a perfect ball for Hiwula but his low firm shot went just wide.
Hiwula again missed a good chance to double his tally when this time the ball came in from the left. He touched the ball on well with his first touch but fluffed his shot, although the deflection that resulted came to Bytyqi. Unfortunately the young Austrian could only find the side netting from the tight angle.
Burnley were not done as they forced a corner. As the resulting dead ball came in, Anderson blatantly pushed a defender at the back post and headed back in for Jason Gilchrist to fire in from five yards.
City did manage to find a winner when the ball was worked forward well through Adam Drury with an overlapping run. His cross seemed to evade everyone in the area, but Bytyqi cut inside and fired his right foot shot into the corner near post. Sinan nearly scored his hat-trick just five minutes later with a near identical shot when he cut inside from the left, but this time the shot clipped the outside of the post.
That third goal seemed to kill the Burnley belief and they failed to trouble Lawlor again. City will now travel to Reading in just under two weeks for the first leg of this inaugural Premier League Cup.
Next up for City, however, is the league game against an inconsistent Arsenal team who nevertheless cannot be taken lightly.
Posted in EDS Match Reports by Gavin Cooper/Andrew Waldon.