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Report: Bristol City U18s 2-2 Crewe Alexandra U18s

City Under-18s came from two goals down to earn a point against Crewe Alexandra in their final home game of the 2017/18 season.

The away side scored two first half goals, through Malachi Linton and Connor Heath, as Crewe went into half-time with a healthy lead.

However, Sam Bell tapped in from close range for Trevor Challis’ side after good work from Lucas Sinclair, before Ryley Towler bundled in on the line for City’s equaliser.

It was a superb fightback from City, who now travel to Burnley for the final game of the season on Saturday (April 14th).

Both sides had chances in the game’s opening moments, but it was City who came closest to opening the deadlock. Kieran Smith’s shot found Bell, who put the ball over the bar from close range.

Sam Pearson then came close for City. Surging forward, the youngster was about to pull the trigger when a Crewe defender blocked him before he could shoot.

Alex Hurst then had a bursting run of his own. Beating a few City defenders, then forcing a good save out of James Carey, who tipped it over his crossbar.

The away side then took the lead. Malachi Linton was found in space, cut inside the box and fired beyond Carey.

Within moments of going a goal down, City almost found an instant reply. Harry Smith’s goal-bound effort had beaten the Crewe goalkeeper, but was kept out by a brilliant clearance from a defender.

Crewe then doubled their lead shortly before half time. Connor Heath stole the ball from a City defender. The midfielder saw Carey off his line, and decided to try his luck from over 30 yards out. The ball went over Carey’s head and into the back of the net.

City tried to find a goal before half time and came within inches of doing so. Towler found K.Smith, whose effort took a deflection before coming off the crossbar.

Despite a good amount of chances, City went into half time two goals down. The words of the manager no doubt still ringing in the players’ ears as they started the second half.

Pearson, who had been promising in the first half, had City’s first opportunity in the second. His stabbed effort went narrowly wide of Will Appleyard’s goal.

Only moments later, Pearson came close again. The youngster turned inside the defender, and his effort went narrowly wide yet again.

The second half showed City’s attacking intent with a flurry of chances. James Burford was the next player to test Appleyard’s goal, with his effort tipped over the bar.

City got their first goal of the tie just after the hour mark. Lucas Sinclair skilfully advanced past a few Crewe players, before putting the ball across goal for Bell to tap in.

Less than ten minutes later, City had their equaliser. A deflected cross fell into the path of Towler, who scrambled the ball across the line for two each.

James Taylor then came close to finding a third for City. Sam Pearson went down under challenge, and the linesman flagged for a penalty, but Taylor continued and forced a smart stop out of the Crewe goalkeeper.

Pearson then came close to finding a winner only moments from time for City. A ball found the youngster at the back post, but Appleyard produced a fine save to keep his side level and ensured they returned to Cheshire with a point.

City Under-18s: Carey, Williams, Soady, Harry Smith, Burford, Spark, S.Pearson, Towler, Bell, K.Smith (Taylor), Sinclair. Subs not used: Hall, Webb.

By Ryan Payne

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