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Oakley Cannonier’s last-minute winner seals Liverpool U18s comeback

Oakley Cannonier struck yet again as the Liverpool under-18s twice fought back for a 3-2 win at Sunderland, to continue an emphatic end to the campaign.

Sunderland U18s 2-3 Liverpool U18s

U18 Premier League, Academy of Light
April 23, 2022

Goals: Middlemas 7′, Bainbridge 47′; Chambers pen 30′, McConnell 70′, Cannonier 90+1′


It has been a remarkable year for Cannonier, who has stepped up as leading goalscorer in the Reds’ academy after an injury-plagued season last time out.

The 17-year-old has shed the tag as Liverpool’s most famous ball boy and instead gained a reputation as a deadly, hardworking striker for the U18s.

Saturday saw Cannonier net his 41st goal of the season – and though the young Reds’ title hopes are effectively over, it kept up a stunning end to 2021/22 under Marc Bridge-Wilkinson.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 15, 2022: Liverpool's James McConnell during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It started off frustratingly at Sunderland, with Ben Middlemas netting a seventh-minute opener, only for Luke Chambers to step up and score from the spot after Melkamu Frauendorf was brought down.

Liverpool went behind again just after the break, though, as Oliver Bainbridge headed home from close range.

But ex-Sunderland midfielder James McConnell was on hand to restore parity in the 70th minute, with the tie looking set to play out as a draw as full-time neared.

Cannonier was there, though, to net a last-gasp winner at the Academy of Light, with the young Reds now almost certain to finish above Blackburn, Nottingham Forest and Man United in the top two.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 15, 2022: Liverpool's Oakley Cannonier during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Man City surging to a high-scoring victory over Derby elsewhere, however, the title is almost certainly wrapped up for Liverpool’s rivals.

Nevertheless, it is proving to be a hugely positive end to the season for Bridge-Wilkinson’s side, with the only blemish on the afternoon being a first-half injury to centre-back Lee Jonas.


Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Osborne (Koumas 89′), Jonas (Pilling 40′), Chambers, Scanlon; Stephenson, McConnell, Frauendorf; Clark, Musialowski, Cannonier

Subs not used: Hewitson

Next match: Nottingham Forest (H) – U18 Premier League – Tuesday, April 26, 1pm (BST)

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