Tuesday, 10 January 2012

City EDS Squad: Round up

It has been a busy couple of days for our Elite Development Squad after they made the short journey to Blackpool yesterday for the Quarter Finals of the Lancashire Senior Cup. However, it would have been an unhappy trip back to Platt Lane for Andy Welsh and his team as they squandered their chance to book their place in the semi final.

City, who last won the Lancashire Senior Cup in 1974, couldn't build on their six winners' medals at this competition after a Louis Almond goal with ten minutes left for Blackpool ensured the Blues exited the competition swiftly.

Welsh had actually been boosted ahead of the game thanks to the return of players such as Alex Nimely and Reece Wabara, who enjoyed successful loan spells at Middlesborough and Ipswich respectively. He also handed a reserve debut to 17 year old midfielder George Evans, but it was Ahmad Benali, another player who had just returned from a loan spell at Rochdale whom opened the scoring for the Blues just after half time.

It was a surprise to those attending that it took so long for City to open the scoring, after such a dominant first half display which saw chances falling for pretty much every player in Sky Blue. It must be expected that the EDS Squad play in a similar fashion to their senior counterparts after the vast amount of possession for the visitors in the first half, going past their opponents like they weren't present on the pitch.

The best chances fell to Joan Roman and Alex Nimely, who both missed from close range after Blackpool keeper Mark Halstead's impressive performance between the sticks. However, he was to have no luck just after half time, after a Jeremy Helan cross was met by Ahmad Benali, who spun and tucked the ball in from close range.

It took over an hour for Blackpool to really get a grip into the game, but they were handed a lifeline when a Courtney Meppen Walters block forced the referee to point to the spot. It seemed a harsh decision, but Stephen Husband stepped up and beat Stuart Taylor from close range to level the game.

The lads didn't let their heads down though, and kept pushing for a second goal. Just three minutes later Jeremy Helan, who produced a MoTM performance, jinked past the Blackpool defence before cutting the ball back. The Blackpool defender swiped the French midfielder and the referee once again pointed to the spot. However, despite two attempts, Alex Nimely saw his penalty saved by Halstead.

Blackpool made City pay for their missed chances, and with just ten minutes remaining, a poor clearance from Meppen-Walter left Louis Almond in acres of space to strike the ball past Taylor to put the Seasiders ahead. City were unable to claw a goal back and were therefore knocked out of the competition.

Here is a video for those who want to see what happened:


Other news
Kurt Zouma - a £5 million target?
-> Goalkeeper Loris Karius, who is currently on loan at Mainz 05 until the end of the season, signed a new contract which keeps him at the club until 2014, according to his Twitter account (@loriskarius).
-> Israeli U-19 International Nir Biton is on trial with the club, scoring twice in a practice match at Carrington. He has been described as the next Peter Crouch
-> 17 year old Kurt Zouma is reportedly a target for the Blues - with French paper L'Equipe saying that we have placed a £5 million bid for him. He is a central defender currently playing for St Etienne.

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