Markanday at the double as Under-23s inflict City's first defeat in 11 months
Manchester City 1-3 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Sat 23 October 2021, 17:10|Tottenham Hotspur
Our Under-23s put an end to Manchester City’s almost year-long unbeaten streak in the Premier League 2 with an impressive showing in the north west on Saturday afternoon.
Having fallen behind to Oscar Bobb’s 12th-minute opener, a fine team move finished off by Dilan Markanday - who had made his first team debut less than 48 hours earlier - brought us level on 32 minutes. Harvey White curled home spectacularly from the edge of the box 10 minutes later to turn the game on its head before Markanday fired home his second on the hour mark to secure an excellent 3-1 victory.
We had gone into the game off the back of two consecutive 4-3 defeats while the hosts had won six of their last seven during an eight-game unbeaten start to the season, their run of fixtures without defeat stretching all the way back to November, 2020 - some 27 matches. And so, when Bobb worked a yard of space inside the box to roll the ball home with 12 minutes on the clock after cautious beginnings from both sides at City's Academy Stadium, it looked like that form would continue.
We threw caution to the wind and, with 24 minutes played, Nile John picked up the ball just inside the City half and set out on a relentless drive towards goal, evading three defenders before breaking into the box, only to see his eventual effort deflected through to goalkeeper Ciaran Slicker. On 32 minutes, though, the keeper could do nothing to prevent Markanday from getting us back on level terms - after fine play down the right between White and Yago Santiago, the ball found its way to Jack Clarke who broke past Rico Lewis before firing a low cross towards the front post, where Markanday was alive to prod home.
Then, with three minutes of the half remaining, we got ourselves in front. More neat interplay between White and Santiago saw the latter tee up White on the edge of the box, who curled the ball in past Slicker with a first-time shot.
With the lead in tow, we had to show our resilience at the back to keep it as the hosts immediately pressed for an equaliser, Kallum Cesay doing enough to put off James McAtee just before the break when the forward looked certain to score, having received the ball a matter of yards from goal. Then, after the break, fellow striker Daniel Ogwuru had a hat-trick of chances to find parity for his side, but fired into the stands and then straight at Thimothee Lo-Tutala, who was making his first Premier League 2 appearance of the season, before failing to get on the end of McAtee’s teasing cross as it flew across the face of goal.
Seconds later down the other end, though, in an all-so similar situation, Markanday showed the clinical edge the City forward had been missing to extend our lead. Again, it was Clarke who provided the creativity, breaking down the right and reaching the byline before crossing low into the box where, much like his first of the afternoon, Markanday was on his toes at the front post to get to the ball before the defenders and tap home. He might have had a hat-trick two minutes later but Slicker came out on top in a one-on-one situation, the keeper later denying him again with a smart save on 79 minutes.
Late chances did fall for the hosts as they looked to lessen the deficit, but neither Bobb nor McAtee could quite find a way past Lo-Tutala as we closed the game out to earn a statement win.
‘It’s an excellent, excellent result’
Under-23s Coach Wayne Burnett was delighted with his players after they showed the necessary belief to come from behind to win so imposingly in Manchester.
“It’s an excellent, excellent result,” he said. “It was a very good all-round performance against a good Manchester City team. We defended very well, looked threatening, I think the group showed their resoluteness and we showed some belief after going a goal down. When you go away to a team like Manchester City, they're always going to give you a game because they're a good footballing team with some outstanding individuals, but let’s not forget that we have some very good players as well and we showed that today.
“We’ve conceded too many goals in the last two games. We haven’t played poorly in those games, but we haven’t played well enough as a team. Today though was much, much better and it was a thoroughly-deserved win with a very good team performance and some very good individual performances as well.”
Manchester City 1-3 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Manchester City: Slicker, Lewis, Burns (Adam 90), Mbete (c), Wilson-Esbrand (Tarensi 46), Lavia, Bobb, Charles, Ogwuru (Oduroh 65), McAtee, Barrington. Substitutes (not used): Van Sas, Whittingham.
Spurs: Lo-Tutala, Michael Craig, Cesay, Lyons-Foster, Paskotsi (Omole 90), Fagan-Walcott, Clarke, White (c), Markanday, John, Santiago (Lavinier 83). Substitutes (not used): Oluwayemi, Matthew Craig, Muir.
Goals: City – Bobb 12; Spurs – Markanday 32, 60, White 42.
Referee: Anthony Backhouse.
Venue: City Academy Stadium, Manchester.
Weather: Cloudy with a bitter breeze, 13 degrees.