LFC U18s 1 (Wilson 68’) – 4 (Ward 20’, Hopkinson 46’ 72’, Scott 83’) Stoke U18s

With just 13 days to go until the FA Youth Cup Semi Final first leg, Steve Cooper rested a number of players including Yalany Baio, Lloyd Jones with Jack Dunn, Jerome Sinclair and Jordan Lussey all out injured. Tom Brewitt was also on international duty, so inevitably missed the game. This meant that Liverpool had to call on some of their U15 players including Corey Whelan. Before the 4-1 defeat, the U18s were on a 6 match unbeaten run, becoming more and more confident ahead of their FA Youth Cup Semi Final.

The home side started very brightly as Daniel Trickett-Smith once again causing the defence a lot of problems, but couldn’t convert any of his 4 chances as they were well saved by Bermuda International Dale Eve. All of Trickett-Smith’s chances came in the first 10 minutes, and looked more and more likely to give Liverpool the lead. The Reds continued to dominate but it was the visitors who took a 20th minute lead as Jordan Rossiter committed a foul inside the box on Stoke’s Charlie Ward, and the striker picked himself back up before chipping it down the middle past Ryan Fulton to give Stoke the advantage at Kirkby Academy. The Reds were dealt a huge blow on the 26th minute of the match when regular full-back Joe Maguire pulled up with an injury but carried on playing. With a number of key upcoming fixtures Steve Cooper replaced the injured Maguire, who later confirmed it was a hamstring injury. He was then replaced by Nathan Quirk. It was Jordan Rossiter who had given away the penalty, and the England U16 Captain looked to make amends and on the 36th minute, Rossiter charged towards the Stoke defence before hitting his 30 yard shot just wide of Eve’s goal. The half ended as it started with Liverpool on the front foot and on the 40th minute Alex O’Hanlon fed it to Ryan Kent who dragged his effort 5 yards wide of goal. In the 45th minute, Daniel Trickett-Smith again came close when Alex O’Hanlon passed it to the young Number 9, whose 20 yard effort was tipped over by Dale Eve.

Stoke doubled their lead after just 25 seconds into the second half, as Kris Scott’s through ball found Nathan Ricketts-Hopkinson and the former Man City man slotted it through Ryan Fulton to give the visitors the best possible start. The FA Youth Cup Semi Finalist’s bad luck continued as on the 54th minute, Harry Wilson’s majorly deflected shot went just wide. Steve Cooper’s side were given some hope on the 68th minute when Jordan Rossiter gave it to Harry Wilson, who received it on the edge of the penalty box and curled an unstoppable strike past the helpless Eve.

However all hope vanished on the 72nd minute when a cross from Molouis found Hopkinson, who get goal side of Niall Heaton to volley it past Ryan Fulton from 8 yards. This meant Liverpool needed goals, so Cooper brought off Cameron Brannagan and replaced him with Louis Robles, which had a positive effect on the team as Liverpool started to control possession in the Stoke half. Unfortunately, this meant the Reds were vulnerable on the counter –attack so Cooper brought on David Roberts for his U18 debut in place of Nathan Burke. Stoke made their first substitution of the game as well, as Oliver Shenton, came on to play his second game of the day as he already played for Stoke U16s. It was Shenton was involved in Stoke’s 4th goal as his pass fell to Williams, whose first time cross came to Hopkinson and the strikers deflected shot landed in the path of Kris Scott and the former Bristol City man sealed the game to give Stoke a vital 3 points at Kirkby.

This result means that Steve Cooper’s side remain 3rd in the league, 4 points adrift of Tottenham with 2 games in hand, and the U18s will travel to North London to play the league leaders next Saturday.

LFC XI: Fulton, Burke, Maguire, Whelan, Heaton, Rossiter, O’Hanlon, Brannagan, Trickett-Smith, Kent, Wilson.

Stoke XI: Eve, Edwards, Monlouis, Sanders, Hulme, Cook, Williams, Ward, Hopkinson, Scott, Lecygne.

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