LFC U18s 3 (Trickett-Smith 19’, Wilson 67’, 79’) – Aston Villa U18s 1 (McKirdy 29’)

A brace from Harry Wilson and a stunning effort from Daniel Trickett-Smith ensured that Liverpool comfortably beat Aston Villa 3-1 in blustering conditions at Langtree Park. The 4th round triumph means that the Reds face current FA Youth Cup holders Norwich or Watford in the 5th round of the FA Youth Cup.

Neil Critchley made 3 changes from the FA Youth Cup 3rd round win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road last month. Firstly, key players Jerome Sinclair and Pedro Chirivella picked up injuries in the Reds 3-0 win against Middlesbrough on Saturday so didn’t feature. Instead Sergi Canos replaced the in form Sinclair and 3rd round hero Sheyi Ojo replaced Chirivella, as Cameron Brannagan moved down to partner Jordan Rossiter in the centre of midfield. The final change saw Daniel Trickett-Smith replace Jordon Ibe, who was unavailable due to first team involvement and didn’t he take his chance perfectly.

First Half
Going into the game, Liverpool has the better side on paper, and that started to show in the opening 5 minutes as the Reds created 3 quick chances. Firstly, after good work from Sheyi Ojo, the ball fell to Daniel Trickett-Smith, and the playmaker forced a smart stop from Villa ‘keeper Charlie Bannister. Moments later, Ryan Kent received the ball on the edge of the box before making Bannister turn the ball wide. From the resulting corner, Lloyd Jones’ flicked header could not find anyone at the back post as Liverpool looked for an opener.
Kent continued to cause problems just before the 10 minute mark, as his solo run created a chance for Cameron Brannagan, but his shot seemed to have scuffed the turf as it was comfortably cleared by the Villa defence.
Another good chance fell to the home side in the 18th minute when Trickett-Smith picked out Ryan Kent who cut it back to the other side of the penalty area to the awaiting Ojo, but the former MK Dons man sliced his 10 yard effort as the Reds were hoping not to rue these missed chances.
Thankfully a minute later Liverpool took the lead thanks to a stunning effort from Daniel Trickett-Smith. He picked up the ball approximately 25 yards out and hit it on the full as Charlie Bannister was beaten, even at full stretch. Trickett-Smith was unlucky not to score a 45 yard half volley in the U18s 3-0 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday but the midfielder got his reward with his 7th goal of the season.
However, like most Under 18 games this season, the young Reds struggled to maintain the advantage as Aston Villa equalised in the 29th minute thanks to Harry McKirdy. The move started when former Everton player O’Brien picked it up on the right wing and his cross was in the corridor of uncertainty between Ryan Crump and Jordan Williams so McKirdy capitalised on this and just got the final touch to beat Crump and give Villa an unlikely equaliser.
A wayward pass from Sheyi Ojo presented a very good opportunity for McKirdy and Aston Villa to make it two but an excellent close range save from Ryan Crump denied him after a lucky ricochet off Jordan Rossiter’s tackle.
The treacherous conditions were causing problems for both teams and because of this chances were minimal after McKirdy’s shot as the half drew to a close with both sides cancelling each other out as it stayed 1-1.

Second Half
At half time, Neil Critchley used one of his 3 substitutes as he brought on Wales’ youngest ever player Harry Wilson, in place of Sheyi Ojo, who seemed to have picked up an injury in the first half. Villa did appear to go in front on the 47th minute as a high cross found Villa goalscorer Harry McKirdy who jumped the highest to head home. However, the linesman did put his flag up as the ball appeared to go out of play in mid air during the cross. This gave the Reds a big lifeline.
Substitute Wilson looked for an immediate impact when he 30 yard free-kick was tipped over by Bannister despite the referee giving only a goal kick, which clearly frustrated winger.
Trickett-Smith then came close to scoring a second wonder goal, but his shot on the edge of the 18 yard box flew just over. Liverpool started to grow into the game after a lethargic startas the 65th minute approached and Harry Wilson almost went close to scoring but his low shot was blocked by a wall of Villa defenders. Wilson did get his goal but the move started unusually as Jordan Rossiter made a goal line clearance. That clearance found Wilson who cut inside from the right and his left footed shot curled into the bottom corner of the net leaving no chance for Bannister. This meant the Reds regained the lead and Wilson scored his 13th goal in all competitions this season, whether it was lucky or unlucky was yet to be decided.
After the goal, Critchley brought on the birthday boy Adam Phillips for Sergi Canos who struggled in conditions he wasn’t used to back at La Masia.
The Reds soon made it 3-1 in the 79th minute as the Kent and Wilson partnership again combined to give Wilson his 14th goal in all competitions this season and proved that his 13th goal was certainly not unlucky.
The goal came when Kent received the ball on the left wing, ran at 3 or 4 players before finding an unmarked Harry Wilson, who produced an identical finish to his first as Liverpool Under 18s got some breathing space under the watchful eye of first team manager Brendan Rodgers. It also meant that Wilson was on a hat-trick even though he has only been on the pitch for 35 minutes.
Trickett-Smith’s performance was overshadowed by Wilson and the Number 10 reminded everyone that he was still in the game when he almost made it 4-1 with 5 minutes to go but his deflected shot went just wide resulting in a Liverpool corner. Nothing came from the corner unfortunately.
Wilson was denied a hat-trick when the Wilson and Kent partnership worked wonders again but Bannister made sure that the Welshman didn’t go home with the match ball.
This was the last action of the match as Liverpool progressed to the 5th round of the FA Youth Cup where they face either Norwich or Watford for a place in the quarter finals.

Team Line-Ups

LFC XI: Crump; Randall, Williams, Jones, Maguire; Rossiter, Brannagan; Ojo, Trickett-Smith, Kent; Canos.
Aston Villa XI: Bannister; Zazrivec,Toner, Foster, Green; Strain, McKirdy; O’Brien, Grealish, Calder; Sellars.

Thanks for taking the time to read this new match report on Vavel, and for more content on Liverpool’s Under 21s and Under 18s then simply keep an eye out on the blog http://www.thenextgenkopites.wordpress.com. Finally, for more Academy updates, then be sure to follow me on Twitter (@ScottTaylorUK).

Until Next Time Reds…