City fail at the final hurdle
Barclay’s U21s Premier League Cup Final 2nd Leg
Saturday 19th April 2014
City: Lawlor, Drury (Bytyqi), Leigh (Tasende), Facey, Denayer, Glendon, Lopes, Fofana, Hiwula, Ntcham, Cole
Goals: Fosu (71), Stacey (75)
Unused: O’Brien, Plummer, Bryan
City’s first chance at silverware at EDS or Academy level came to the U21s who held a one goal advantage going into a second leg final against Reading after coming from two nil down in the first leg to lead three two. However, despite controlling most of the midfield and having more possession, City failed to convert that advantage into goals and two quick second half goals ensured Reading were the inaugural Premier League Cup winners.
The first half of the match mainly belonged to City and the Reading fans around us were fearing the worst for their team. It just looked like when City were going to score, and not if, as chances came and went. The Blues failed to really test Daniel Lincoln in the Reading goal.
We have often speculated what Seko Fofana’s best place to play in midfield very much in that dilemma of Yaya where generally we see his best games further forward but even in that deeper role Yaya uses the ball so well that with good movement ahead of him he can really add to the attacking instinct and advancing play of the attacking players.
That was indeed the case in this match as Fofana had a slightly deeper role and he used it very well because he was there to break play up and came for the ball more when coming out of defence which relieved George Glendon a little of that responsibility.
Reading did have a couple of chances in the first half but Jason Denayer and Shay Facey were up for the battle and despite the referee’s assistant allowing a blatant incorrect call on a throw in that was quickly taken and the player was clean through on the right the defence just manage to recover and thwart the chance.
The second half started with a bang when Reading kicked off and Olivier Ntcham rushed forward and dispossessed the Reading player and surged forward and played the ball out to the right into the area for Marcos Lopes to run onto but he failed to set himself properly and he sliced his shot wide of the goal on the angle.
However despite such a determined start to the second half City slowly but surely allowed Reading to get into this game and City were forced into far more defending with a couple of times being last ditched.
However when Reading made a change to bring on Tariqe Fosu with just over twenty minutes remaining he received the ball on the left with his first touch and cut inside Adam Drury and Shay Facey stepped to his left leaving a gap at the near post for Fosu to shoot low and hard into the goal.
Not long after City found themselves two goals behind when City playing the ball forward through midfield lost possession and a long ball was flicked on but Greg Leigh lost his balance and the chance to control the ball and Jack Stacey carried on his run to tack the ball into the area and around Ian Lawlor and fire into an empty goal.
City tried desperately to gain a goal in this game as the minutes ticked by to at least take it to extra time but again that final quality was not quite there and they were limited to longer range efforts that Lincoln covered or they failed to find the target and even Lawlor went up for a stoppage time free kick but substitute Sinan Bytyqi’s delivery failed to test the Reading defence.
Perhaps one of the more alarming aspects to come out of this game was that Vieira was seriously lacking any real options on his bench to change the game and play slightly more direct because right the way through the EDS and academy there is just one powerful forward who has the strength to hold the ball up and he is still suffering from growing injuries.
I know the beautiful game is lovely with one touch football but for years to mainly disregard the possibility of bigger player up front has cost the option to change things around should your plan A not be going entirely to plan.
Next up for City is their penultimate league game away to Leicester City where three points will ensure a play-off place however the top two places are now secured and so City will definitely be away as they have lost the option of home advantage.
Posted in EDS Match Reports by Gavin Cooper/Andrew Waldon.