U23s to face Swansea in Premier League Cup
Posted: Thursday, March 1st 2018
Wednesday, March 7th 2018
Wonder strikes from Cauley Woodrow and Opi Edwards ensured City would finish top of their group in the Premier League Cup, as they beat Charlton Athletic 2-1.
Alfie Doughty equalised from close range for the Addicks, but no matter what the outcome of the game, City had already qualified for the first of the knockout stages.
City headed into their final group game level on points with Liverpool, who had already played their sixth and final match, therefore Luke Williams' side knew at least a point would be enough to finish top of Group G.
Jens Hegeler captained the side as the defender marked his first start for five months after recovering from a knee injury. Milan Djuric also played for half an hour in the cup clash at City's Failand training base, signalling his return from a groin injury.
It was the visitors who went closest to scoring first after Jordan Zemura darted down the left before picking out Albie Morgan but his teammate curled an effort over the bar as he opted for placement into the top corner.
Djuric should have put City ahead after George Nurse whipped in a driven, low cross. The Bosnian international seemed certain to score from close range but the ball tapped off the post. The keeper Jordan Beeney may have got a touch too before the ball was eventually scrambled away.
But City were ahead after quarter of an hour; Woodrow picked the ball up to the left of goal and unleashed an unstoppable shot beyond Beeney.
It was then a tale of two keepers as City shotstopper Jojo Wollacott first denied Alex Willis, before Beeney produced a smart save of his own to deny Gustav Engvall after he burst through on goal.
Charlton Athletic made it 1-1 through Doughty's close-range shot shortly after the half-hour mark. A cutting through pass found Morgan whose shot flicked off Wollacott before pinging off the post. Doughty was ready to pounce for the rebound, smashing the ball into the open net.
Already-qualified City came out for the second half far from content with a point and showed early signs of their pursuit for more goals: first, Woodrow clipped a delightful ball into Engvall, whose shot had to be tipped on to the post, and Woodrow fired off target shortly after.
Chances came few and far between in the crisp and windy conditions, that was until substitute Antoine Semenyo turned and unleashed a powerful drive at goal which was finely pushed out for a corner from Beeney. But it was from that corner City's decisive goal came.
Edwards, who earlier replaced Djuric, was the man of the moment as he received the ball from the City corner. He took the ball beyond a handful of Charlton players before striking the ball into the net.
City held on to their winning scoreline, with only a Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu header a threat which Wollacott easily held late on.
City complete their Group G journey with 13 points from four wins, one draw and one defeat.
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