Substitute Jayden Danns scored a brace, including a stoppage time penalty, to salvage a point for Liverpool under-18s in their draw with Derby on Saturday.
Liverpool U18s 3-3 Derby U18s
U18s Premier League, AXA Training Centre
February 11, 2023
Goals: Morrison 28, Danns 60′, 90+3′ (p); Moloney 11′, Fapetu 18′, Brown 37′
With the likes of Lewis Koumas and James McConnell still absent, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson fielded a number of players still eligible to play at U16 level. Niall Osborne captained the side, with goalkeeper Fabian Mrozek, a regular in first-team training this season, also starting.
The young Reds almost took the lead in fortuitous circumstances, with a backpass from Derby’s Kei Robinson evading goalkeeper Josh Shattell, who eventually recovered to clear the ball off the line.
Two minutes later, Derby were in front, with left-back Riley Moloney flying forward to fire his effort across Mrozek and into the bottom corner. Shortly afterwards, it was two, with Bayo Fapetu rising highest to head home from a Derby corner.
Liverpool halved the deficit just before the half an hour mark, with Kieran Morrison seeing his deflected strike from the edge of the box trickle into the bottom corner. His first goal at U18 level.
Bridge-Wilkinson’s side had chances to equalise soon after, with Charlie Hayes-Green heading wide, but Derby added a third with a superbly taken volley by Dajaune Brown before the break.
HT: Liverpool U18s 1-3 Derby U18s
Liverpool made two half-time changes, with Lucas Pitt replacing Osborne, who has only recently returned from injury, and Nathan Giblin on for Francis Gyimah at left-back. But it was their third substitution, Jayden Danns, who went on to make the difference.
Just two minutes after his introduction, Danns scored Liverpool’s second, firing home instinctively after the ball fell to him inside the box.
The Reds’ attempts to find an equaliser looked to be heading for an unsuccessful conclusion until stoppage time, when Ranel Young was on the receiving end of a rash challenge from a Derby defender inside the box.
Danns stepped up for the penalty and made no mistake, sending Shattell the wrong way to secure a late point for the Reds.
An inspired second-half performance, but the U18s remain without a league win since October, and sit seventh in the table.
Liverpool U18s: Mrozek; Davidson, Osborne (Pitt 45′), Hayes-Green, Gyimah (Giblin 45′); Laffey, Penninghton (Danns 58′), Morrison; Gift, Kone-Doherty, Young
Subs not used: Hewitson, Pinnington
Next match: Man City (A) – U18 Premier League – Saturday, February 25, 11.30am (GMT)