16-year-old nets first goal for Liverpool U18s – but final day ends in heavy defeat

It was a moment to remember 16-year-old Joshua Sonni-Lambie as he scored his first goal for the under-18s, but it was an otherwise disappointing final day as the Reds fell to a 5-1 defeat.

Derby U18s 5-1 Liverpool U18s

U18 Premier League (26), Moor Farm Training Centre
May 11, 2024

Goals: Wheeldon 10′, Oguntolu 37′, 45+3′, 75′, Tola 90′; Sonni-Lambie 87′

On the final day of the season for the U18s, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson was unable to call upon a host of names due to injury and promotion to the U21s.

It can be easy to forget that only back in August he called upon the likes of Jayden Danns, Lewis Koumas and Trent Kone-Doherty up top – none of whom featured on Saturday.

It was a young lineup at Derby, and although Liverpool applied promising early pressure, by the time half-time came around, the Reds were down 3-0 on the scoreboard.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 2, 2023: Liverpool's Keyrol Figueroa during the Under-18 Premier League match between Liverpool FC Under-18's and Manchester City FC Under-18's at the Etihad Campus. Man City won 3-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Costly mistakes with the ball at the back proved the story of the match, with Derby clinically finishing off each opportunity – though ‘keeper Nathan Morana made more than a few important saves.

Liverpool showed flashes of striking back at the other end, Sonni-Lambie hit the crossbar and Keyrol Figueroa directed a header straight at Derby’s goalkeeper.

HT: Derby U18s 3-0 Liverpool U18s

The left wing looked a promising avenue to goal for Liverpool, but they were forced to rue their own mistakes as the hosts found the net twice more in the second half.

With space to run into and plenty of time on their hands, the young Rams only furthered their advantage to pile on a total five goals.

ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - Tuesday, August 31, 2021: Liverpool's manager Barry Lewtas (C) chats with Under-18's coach Marc Bridge-Wilkinson (L) and fitness coach Jack Ade (R) during the pre-match warm-up before the English Football League Trophy match between Rochdale AFC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Spotland Stadium. Rochdale won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But it was Sonni-Lambie who ensured they would not have a clean sheet to go with their three points, converting with composure over the ‘keeper after latching onto a perfectly-timed through ball.

It was the 16-year-old’s first goal at U18s level in his 19th appearance this campaign – one the Reds finished in seventh place.

A disappointing end to the season result-wise for the U18s, but it has been a hugely significant campaign for Bridge-Wilkinson’s squad, with a handful going on to play at senior level.

Liverpool U18s: Morana; Airoboma, Furnell-Gill, Pitt; Lonmeni, Onanuga; Ahmed, Sonni-Lambie; Bradshaw (O’Connor 60′), Young (Evers 69′), Figueroa

Subs not used: Bernard