Under-21s: Man City 3-3 Wanderers

David Wheater and Stuart Holden feature in under-21s' thrilling draw at Hyde

Jan Gregus’ late spectacular 30-yard strike secured a well-deserved draw against Manchester City in what was a breathtaking tie at Ewen Fields.

An opener from Jack Sampson, followed by an own goal from Boyata and Gregus’ strike cancelled out Jose Pozo Angel La Rosa’s brace and John Guidetti’s header.

Wheater and Holden managed 65 and 31 minutes respectively, with Holden substituted following a tackle with George Evans.

After a fairly even beginning to the encounter, it was City who nearly struck first on two occasions either side of the ten-minute mark.

The first opportunity was the clearer of the pair. Denis Suarez swung in a corner that was met with a header of power and poor accuracy by Boyata as he sent his attempt bouncing wide.

Soon after, City fashioned a chance through the quick feet of Jose Angel Pozo. 

The tricky winger weaved through several challenges down the right flank before bringing the ball inside and curling a shot towards the near post that crashed into the side netting.

Ten minutes later, after a sustained period of pressure, it was the Wanderers that broke the deadlock.

Sanmi Odelusi charged towards the City backline before playing the ball across to Sampson. The striker shifted the ball inside before firing a solid 20-yard strike beyond the outstretched hand of Ian Lawlor and into the corner of the net.

Unfortunately for the Whites, the home side reacted well and leveled terms in the 26th minute.

After constantly spraying the ball around the final third of the pitch in the hope of creating a decent chance, City required a heavy dose of luck to find the net.

Suarez laid the ball across the edge of the area to Jose Angel Pozo who immediately struck a shot that took a major deflection, rolling past the helpless Rob Lainton and into the corner of the net.

After an encouraging first half-hour for Stuart Holden, his involvement in the game was abruptly ended after a challenge with Evans. The tackle left the American requiring treatment before he was substituted for Oscar Threlkeld. Fortunately for Wanderers, Holden was able to walk around the perimeter of the pitch before being taken off.

As the time remaining in the first half shortened, the game became increasingly starved of action until a pulsating five minutes rounded off the opening period.

City took the lead for the first time in the match when Jose Angel Pozo came back to haunt the Wanderers again. 

A Suarez corner was only cleared as far as the little Spaniard who quickly controlled the ball before firing it into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

This didn’t dampen the Whites’ spirit as they immediately hit back and forced an equaliser through a defensive error.

Alex McQuade drilled a dangerous cross towards the six-yard box that Boyata failed to deal with as he sliced his attempted clearance into his own net to tie the scoring at half-time.

The start of the second half didn’t quite maintain the same intensity from the end of the first 45 minutes, although a third City goal by Guidetti just before the hour mark was the catalyst for a flurry of action.

An inviting cross from Greg Leigh was met by the towering Guidetti who nodded the ball in at the near post, re-establishing City’s lead at 3-2.

Yet again, Bolton were not deterred as they fought to gain another equaliser.

A free-kick was deflected away into the path of Lester who chested the ball down well before striking an exquisite 20-yard half-volley destined to crash into the back of the net before Boyata headed the ball away to safety.

With 20 minutes remaining, Jose Angel Pozo came painfully close to sealing his hat-trick but was foiled by heroics from Lainton. 

Yet another Leigh cross caused havoc in the area and could only be knocked into the path of Jose Angel Pozo who swiftly reacted to fire a shot that was glanced narrowly off-target, much to the frustration of the young Spaniard.

Four minutes later, a cross from Leigh yielded another glorious chance for the home side but Guidetti could only glance his header inches past the post.

Following this, City’s defence began to tremble as Bolton poured forward in numbers in search of a third goal for themselves.

Such anxiety resulted in the home side cheaply surrendering possession to Zach Clough who nearly punished them with his 25-yard shot that flew agonisingly wide. 

As the game neared an end, Gregus conjured up a moment of magic that stunned everyone in the ground.

The Slovakian received the ball from 30 yards and immediately struck an unstoppable effort that soared towards goal, dipping underneath the crossbar and crashing into the top corner of the net.

Wanderers:Lainton, Maher, McQuade, Bolger, Wheater (Blakeman, 65), Gregus, Lester, Holden (Threlkeld, 31), Sampson, Clough, Odelusi (Unused subs: Fielding, Dennis, Hampson)

Manchester City: Lawlor, Facey (Bossaerts, 45), Leigh, Evans, Plummer, Boyata, Suarez, Huws, Guidetti, Lopes (Rusnak , 85), Jose Angel Pozo (Unused subs: Gunn, Bytyqi, Cole)
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