On first-team duty two weeks previous, Bobby Clark was on hand to start as the Liverpool under-18s earned a 1-0 win over Port Vale in the FA Youth Cup.
Port Vale U18s 0-1 Liverpool U18s
FA Youth Cup 4th Round, Vale Park
January 11, 2023
Goal: Laffey 19′
On a run of four consecutive defeats in the league, the FA Youth Cup has provided Liverpool’s U18s with a welcome reprieve, and on Wednesday they secured another win.
After seeing off Bournemouth in the third round, a trip to Port Vale brought a close but decisive victory for Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s side.
Having been unsure which players he could call upon in the buildup, as the under-21s took on Paris Saint-Germain at Kirkby at the same time, Bridge-Wilkinson was able to start Clark as part of his attack.
It was an otherwise inexperienced lineup, with the two sides trading blows early on until Michael Laffey was gifted the game’s only.
The decider came on the break, with Iwan Roberts sending Laffey through, and with Port Vale captain James Plant scuffing his clearance on the line, the young midfielder was on hand to finish.
Liverpool did themselves no favours afterwards, though, with the impressive Luke Hewitson required on a number of occasions with strong saves to keep Port Vale out.
Ben Lomax came the closest for the home side, but his header could only find the woodwork, as the young Reds held on for victory and a place in the last 16.
Clark, who was on the bench for the 2-1 win over Leicester at Anfield only a fortnight previous, played the full 90 minutes in a combative display.
Liverpool, then, were able to do what Everton and Man United were not, as they booked a spot in the last 16 – the hope will be that they can now take confidence into their Merseyside derby on Saturday.
Liverpool U18s: Hewitson; Davidson, Lucky, Samuels, Scanlon; Miles, Laffey, Pilling; Danns (Young 63′), Clark, Roberts
Subs not used: Trueman, Giblin, Gyimah, Pennington, Gift, Ahmed