Jason Wilcox's Manchester City U18s faced a very resolute Chelsea side at the CFA on Friday in the first-leg of the FA Youth Cup final.
Despite Joe Edwards missing Tammy Abraham from his XI the holders put out a formidable line up. The first half saw Chelsea's dominating the possession with the Young Blues having to work hard to get out of their own half.
Daniel Grimshaw's first task of the night was to deny Ike Ugbo from close range showing excellent reflexes and then Jay Dapsilva’s deep cross struck the woodwork before bouncing clear. City's best chance of the half fell to Lukas Nmecha, choosing placement over power he eyed up the bottom right corner only for Nathan Baxter to parry away. Brahim Diaz soon got in on the action, his fizzing effort from 25 yards only just skimming the Chelsea crossbar.
Play resumed and it was the Blues from West London who struck first, Trevor Chalobah bursting down the right flank who cut his cross back to Mason Mount leaving him with the simple task of slotting home, to the delight of the few Chelsea faithful who had made the long trip. City though sought to deliver an immediate response and they did through Aaron Nemane.
Honours even after first 90 minutes of two-legged final
Manu Garcia fed the ball into Nmecha who laid it off for Nemane. The Englishman only needed one touch before curling the ball into the top corner with the CFA duly erupting. Buoyed by this City went in search of a winner aided by Garcia's replacement.
England U18 international Isaac Buckley, made his presence known within seconds of being introduced, causing problems for the Chelsea defence immediatley, his low shot rippled into the side netting with City fooling some in the crowd that he'd bagged the winner.
From there on it was a battle of the midfield, both sides excellent in possession but lacking that killer pass at times as well as both sides keen to defend what they had! Apart from a late Grimshaw save to deny Dujon Sterling City saw out the remainder of the game comfortably taking a valuable goal to London next Wednesday.