Harvey Blair struck late to grab the fourth goal of his last three outings as the Liverpool under-18s capped a perfect week by downing 10-man Stoke.
Stoke U18s 0-2 Liverpool U18s
U18 Premier League, Clayton Wood
March 5, 2022
Goals: Clark 56′, Blair 89′
With his side in brilliant form of late, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson brought the young Reds to Stoke as they looked to build on big victories over Everton and Genk in the past week.
There were nine changes from the side that beat Genk on penalties in the UEFA Youth League last 16, with Isaac Mabaya and Oakley Cannonier the only players retained in a much-needed shuffle of the pack.
It was an attritional clash in difficult conditions at Clayton Wood, with both sides struggling for fluency in the opening stages, though Liverpool were the more dominant.
Goalkeeper Fabian Mrozek enjoyed a quiet time for much of the opening 45 minutes, while the majority of the young Reds’ chances came from runs down the flanks, with Mabaya and left-back Calum Scanlon particularly dangerous.
However, the first half ended with the scores level, and Bridge-Wilkinson was required to inspire his players to improve after the break.
That they did – for a period at least – and it resulted in a goal for Bobby Clark, who benefited from Cannonier’s run onto a loose pass and converted well after being found in the box.
The young Reds appeared to grow complacent with their lead, however, and Stoke midfielder Jack Griffiths was a constant threat that required Mrozek to stay on his toes and called Terence Miles into a number of clearances.
Aggression spilled into the game as Stoke pushed for an equaliser, and a nasty challenge from Christy Grogan earned the Stoke man a red card and sparked a melee on the touchline.
That gave Liverpool an advantage, and they nearly extended their lead soon after as Mabaya latched onto a break, only to see his effort denied.
But the result was sealed in the final minute, as substitute Melkamu Frauendorf danced down the byline and towards the six-yard box, squaring it to Blair who could not miss as he ensured a 2-0 victory.
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Davidson, Miles, Jonas, Scanlon; Pilling, Mabaya, McConnell; Blair, Clark, Cannonier (Frauendorf 71′)
Subs not used: Hewitson, Gymiah, Pennington, Figueroa