By Scott Taylor

Harry Wilson netted a brace as a formidable Liverpool Under 18s finished 2014 on a positive not as they beat the league leaders Middlesbrough at the Kirkby Academy. Fellow forwards Sheyi Ojo and Sergi Canos were amongst the goals for Neil Critchley’s side. However, it was the Wales international Wilson who stole the headlines with two goals in the 4-1 victory.

All the goalscorers linked well as a front three and always terrorised the Middlesbrough defence. Both Canos and Wilson exchanged passes in the opposition half before a smart through ball from the winger allowed the Spaniard Canos to fire home to open the scoring.

The Reds’ second goal also had Canos heavily involved. It was the forward’s trickery that resulted in him winning a free-kick. Canos then allowed Wilson to take it and it was the latter who curled on in at the near post to double the lead for the Under 18s. Reds’ defender Tom Brewitt made a darting run towards the front post but got no touch and played a major distraction for Boro goalkeeper Thomas Dawson.

Liverpool’s third of the afternoon also came from a set-piece. Wilson found Canos, and yet again his trickery caused all sorts of problems before he looked and found summer signing Ovie Ejaria. It was Ejaria who broke into the opposition penalty area and was bundled over for a penalty.

It was Ojo who took the penalty, and with all the off the field attention recently, he had plenty of pressure on his shoulders, and this may have told when his shot was palmed away by Dawson. Despite the penalty, Neil Critchley’s side were in a healthy position at half-time. This was no surprise with a Liverpool side containing the likes of Jordan Rossiter and Pedro Chirivella behind the front three.

Wilson and his Liverpool team-mates came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, and the winger almost had his second of the match, albeit for a goalline clearance from Dawson. However, the Welshman did get his brace moments later. Team-mate Ojo did most of the hard work dancing past any challenge, but Wilson’s finish was just as special as his put the game within doubt.

The visitors rarely threatened, but when they did, they were clinical. Harrison Chapman was unlucky not to pull one back as his effort smashed off the post, but his team-mate Jordan Jowers was in the right place at the right time to smash home the rebound, also via the woodwork.

Any nerves of a Middlesbrough comeback were soon put to bed when Ojo made up for his penalty miss earlier in the game with a shot that curled past Dawson to restore the Reds’ threee-goal cushion. Already down and out, things got worse for Middlesbrough when Chapman was sent off for a crunching tackle on Rossiter as the Championship side ended the game with ten men.

For more Academy updates, follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottTaylorUK

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