A GOAL IN EACH HALF ENSURES CITY WIN GABRIEL ALMEIDA MANCHESTER CITY
A GOAL IN EACH HALF ENSURES CITY WIN
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 22:13
MANCHESTER CITY 2
Manchester City's baby faced assassins earned a hard-fought victory against a nerveless Rhyl side whose enterprise endeared themselves to the 1,743 spectators inside Belle Vue.
The Premiership Champions scored a goal in each half through Bytqi and Gabriel Almeida with the former being an exceptional piece of individual brilliance that was worth the admission fee alone. With a dainty touch Bytqi ran with legs like pythons leaving the usual steely Rhyl defence in his wake before rounding Alex Ramsey in goal to stroke the ball past the despairing dive of Stefan Halewood on the goal-line. A real blockbuster finish in what had been an otherwise equal opening 21 minutes of proceedings. Sharp in the tackle and keen to frequently probe Rhyl were anything but over-awed. Signified by Ramsey's Johan Crufyff-esc turn inside his own six yard box as Bytqi hurriedly pressed. Ramsey excellently denied the 4 time FA Community Shield winners an opener with a fine block at the feet of Bytqi following good interplay involving Mihaylov and Jack Byrne.
His opposite custodian meanwhile Billy O'Brien feebly flapped at a Danny Hughes corner kick that fell invitingly to Matt Woodward who sliced wide of goal. Breaking from box-to-box Woodward turned defence into attack with a great arrowed through ball to David Forbes who's persistence and hold up play gave Hughes a sight of goal only for his attempt to fly straight into the hands of O'Brien. As the first half matured so did City's passing display as they meandered from wing-to-wing with the eye-catching Henshall an ever available outlet with great finesse and pace on the ball testing Rhyl's combative capabilities. Jack Byrne's audacious swerving drive at goal flew just over as Rhyl in the main marshalled a technically sound Manchester City to a mere one goal lead at half-time.
As the echoes from the silver brass band continued to ring towards the coronation gardens stand. A flustered Ben Sharpe in goal for Manchester City saw his attempted clearance cannon off Forbes only for Sharpe to cannon the ball off the no.9's Achilles again with a panicky second hack at the ball which was then gleefully gobbled up by Sharpe. However that moment of hesitation went against the grain of City's first half composure in possession and only served to heighten Rhyl's expectation and appetite for an equaliser. Club Captain Russell Courtney who excellently chaperoned the Man City forward line with another dominant display almost sent Belle Vue into bedlam. As a Tom Rowlands in-swinging corner arrived Courtney out-jumped George Swan and looped a header just wide of the far-post with Sharpe hopelessly beaten. Swan then nervously headed back towards Sharpe only for Rowlands to intercept and round Sharpe but the by-line beat him. Rhyl continued to manifest themselves on the City back-line with sweeping moves and the introduction of the cumbersome and deceptively fast Steve Lewis causing more optimism for a Rhyl equaliser.
Against the run of play City broke with Barker placing a perfectly weighted pass in behind Halewood for Bytqi to clip the far-post with only Ramsey to beat. Rhyl soon smashed the woodwork themselves as Marc Evans magnificently held off the mean Keiran Kenderick and softly released Rowlands through on goal. The winger opted for power when a more subtle strike would have sufficed as the ball ricocheted off the near post and out of play much to the angst of the Rhyl supporters. Rhyl continued to flood forward as the ever rampaging Paul McManus rattled the rib cage of Kenderick who flew in front of goal bravely.
Manchester City's Academy's Manager Scott Sellers astutely nullified the venomous Rhyl onslaught with a succession of substitutions, his final three incidentally all being 15 years old. City broke from yet another Rhyl corner as Byrne's clearance was raked into the gangly Cole stride that beat Liam Benson on the right-hand touchline to produce a two v one situation. Calm personified the second half substitution fed Almeida who sent Ramsey the wrong way with a shimmy and poke into the bottom left hand corner to conclude this evenings' proceedings. As Rhyl strolled off the pitch in their bright Pink jersey's worn in aid of Breast Cancer Care Cymru. A sense of pride was etched on the squad's faces as they knew they'd competed admirably in front of the bumper Belle Vue crowd and City TV cameras.
Report by Nick Bollen
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 August 2012 11:50