The Liverpool U18s sealed a 1-0 victory over Man City in their penultimate game of the season, but face an uphill battle in their pursuit of the title.
Man City U18s 0-1 Liverpool U18s
U18 Premier League, Kirkby
April 30, 2019
Goal: Bearne 13′
Barry Lewtas’ young Reds headed into Tuesday morning’s clash with their work cut out for them, with two games left to play but six points behind first-placed Derby, whose season is already over.
Able to make up the deficit, Liverpool were still required to engineer a 12-goal positive swing in goal difference in order to lift the trophy in May.
Following the FA Youth Cup final triumph over City on Thursday night, Lewtas made four alterations from a draining trip to Manchester’s Academy Stadium, and opted for a change of system.
Remi Savage, Matteo Ritaccio, Luis Longstaff and Jack Bearne came in for Abdi Sharif, Leighton Clarkson, Jake Cain and Paul Glatzel, with Savage joining Rhys Williams and Morgan Boyes in a back three.
The opener, and ultimately the winner, came through 17-year-old Bearne, who scored his fourth goal of the season after a brilliant pass from Bobby Duncan.
Bearne and Duncan both tested Cieran Slicker further times before the break, while City themselves troubled Vitezslav Jaros as they pushed for an equaliser to no avail.
The onus was on City goalkeeper Slicker in the second half, too, as he again denied the on-from attacking duo, along with substitute Sharif, who replaced Ritaccio just after the hour mark.
A final big chance fell to Bearne, who failed to record a brace as his effort struck the upright, leaving Liverpool to savour a 1-0 victory.
Victory though it is, it is unlikely to help the young Reds to the title, as they would now need to beat Middlesbrough by 11 clear goals on Saturday to leapfrog Derby.
They are already guaranteed second, though, which along with their FA Youth Cup triumph serves as a testament to the progress made under Lewtas at Kirkby this season.
TIA Man of the Match: Jack Bearne
Liverpool U18s: Jaros; R.Williams, Savage, Boyes; N.Williams, Ritaccio (Sharif 64′), Dixon-Bonner (Clarkson 52′), Larouci; Longstaff, Bearne, Duncan (O’Rourke 86′)
Subs not used: Winterbottom, Brookwell