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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Tuesday, December 11th 2018

Report: Bristol City U18s 1-2 Crewe Alexandra U18s

Bristol City Under-18s have exited the FA Youth Cup but can be proud of their dominant display against a young Crewe Alexandra, under the Ashton Gate lights.

It was one-way traffic for much of the match with forward Sam Pearson looking ever-impressive as a creative spark for the hosts.

However, with three goals in the first 15 minutes of the match, it was the away side who raced into an early lead through Connor Heath. Pearson picked out the bottom corner to equalise, before an immediate response from Crewe with Heath completing his brace with an exquisite free kick.

City controlled the game as it developed, with the visitors on the back foot for large spells but a second equaliser always evaded them; Pearson going closest when he tapped the ball wide after rounding the keeper.

The result means it will be Crewe who go on to face either Leicester City or Fulham in the fourth round.

Vince Harper goes for the aerial duel.

City had the best opportunity in the opening minute with Marcus Day’s angled free kick firing narrowly over the crossbar in fast-paced start to the game. And the fans had to wait only a matter of seconds before witnessing the first goal, which came courtesy of Heath who was on hand to convert Malachi Linton’s low cross.

Day looked busy on the crisp winter’s evening and almost turned provider when he found Sam Bell in the box, who turned and shot but saw his effort saved by Sam Booth in the Crewe goal.

However, the home fans wouldn’t wait much longer for something to cheer about when Vince Harper skipped away from his marker before finding Pearson. The striker needed only to turn to face goal before firing low into the far corner to draw City level.

Nice turn and finish from Pearson.

It was a super finish from the forward but Heath had other ideas with a spectacular effort of his own, only a minute later. Up he stepped to net his second goal of the game with a free kick which nestled into the top corner; his curling 25-yard strike leaving the diving Will Buse with no chance.

Opportunities would die down but City’s tenacious attitude to fight for the ball in the middle of the park was working in their favour, as they looked to break down any momentum for the visitors.

It was a strong end to the first half though with both Pearsons nearly combining, right-back Callum almost picking out the stretched foot of Sam at the back post, before Day’s free kick was on target but easy work for Booth.

The Robins were on the front foot after the restart too, and Pearson looked odds-on to equalise with an open goal. The striker timed a run to perfection as he latched on to Bell’s through ball, before going around Booth and firing wide when presented with an open goal.

Battling for possession under the BS3 lights.

It was City with their tails up though and again Pearson went within an inch or two from connecting with Bell’s cross but for the grateful hands of the Crewe keeper.

The one-way traffic continued with Harper striking over the bar, Bell was blocked by Booth at the back post and again the Crewe keeper denied City by tipping over a fierce strike from distance by Pearson at the death.

But the young Robins couldn’t force extra-time despite their dominance, with the full-time whistle confirming their exit from the FA Youth Cup.

City: Buse, Pearson, Soady (C), Owers, Low, Webb, Harper (James Taylor 65), Williams (Jamie Taylor 57), Bell, Pearson, Day (Conway 71). Subs not used: Sainsbury, Benarous.

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