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U21s Beat Bristol City
Tuesday, 12th Mar 2024 13:28

Town’s U21s netted twice in the first half to secure a 2-0 victory over Bristol City at a soaking Playford Road at lunchtime, Tommy Taylor (pictured) netting the second after a Josh Campbell-Slowey own goal had given the Blues the lead.

Town fielded trialist keeper Solomon Honor in goal, a 17-year-old currently with Blackburn Rovers, who was previously with Manchester City’s youth set-up, while Cameron Humphreys was the only player in the team with Championship experience.

The Blues started on the front foot and Matt Ward hit an early free-kick against the wall. On 10, striker Taylor headed wide.

Town, with Humphreys running the game, continued to control the game and went ahead on the 20-minute mark when Harry Barbrook whipped over a cross from the left and Campbell-Slowey sliced his clearance into his own net under pressure from Taylor.

And in the 35th minute, Town added to their lead. Barbrook again crossed low from the left and Taylor slid in across the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

Leon Ayinde shot wide as Town maintained their dominance ahead of half-time and then in the opening minute of the second period Ward saw a shot blocked, then sent a subsequent effort high and wide.

On 50, Ben Acey shot not too far wide of Honor’s left post, then on 63 Blues forward Matty Roberts was booked for a foul on Jed Meerholz.

The Robins had improved in the second half with their substitutes having made a real difference.

In the 67th minute, a Callum Hutton shot was deflected wide, then following the resultant corner, Honor dropped a cross but Town were able to get the ball away before the visitors could make anything of the situation.

Two minutes later, Ward was sent away on the right on what had become a rare Blues attack but shot across the face and wide when cutting back to Taylor might have been a better option.

Town made their first changes on 73 with Emmanuel Okunowo and Jesse Nwabueze taking over from Steven Turner and Ayinde.

Ward struck a shot which was easy for City keeper Joe Duncan, before the Robins had a great chance to go ahead.

Sub Raekwon Nelson was played through on goal but Honor did superbly to advance and then save with an outstretched foot. Kai Churchley looped the rebound towards the empty goal but Barbrook got back to nod over from under the bar. On 82, Town swapped Taylor for Chuks Uzor-Greey.

Honor continued to impress as the visitors put the Blues under increased pressure in the latter stages, batting away an effort from a tight angle on the right.

A minute later, he did well to get down and across to his right to save Taine Anderson’s low free-kick from just outside the area, gathering at the second attempt.

On 85, Honor dropped a cross, understandably given the very wet conditions, and Callum Hewitt cut back to Churchley, who blazed over with the goal gaping.

Churchley claimed a penalty a minute later when his shot struck a Town player, then Humphreys brought the ball to the edge of the box at the other end but Duncan saved his shot across to his right.

Honor, who could be impressed with his display having only joined up with the Blues yesterday, again thwarted Churchley, saving the edge-of-the area strike down to his right, then in injury time Roberts shot over for the Blues.

Having been much the better side in the first half, Town had to battle for the three points in the second half against the improved Robins in atrocious conditions.

The side coached by John McGreal and David Wright have now won their last two games having beaten Cardiff City 3-1 away last week.

U21s: Honor, Babb, H Barbrook (c), Mazionis, O'Connor, Turner (Okunowo 73), Humphreys, Ward, Taylor (Uzor-Greey 82), Roberts, Ayinde (Nwabueze 73). Unused: Cullum, Ayoola.

Bristol City: Duncan, Leeson (James 73), Anderson, Meerholz, Knight-Lebel (c), Campbell-Slowey, Churchley, Hewlett (Morrison 60), Hutton (Phillips 73), Acey, Rose (Nelson 60). Unused: Taylor.

Photo: TWTD

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