By Scott Taylor
Toni Gomes scored twice as Liverpool U18s bounced back from three straight defeats to thrash Fulham 5-1 in the Premier League play-offs on Saturday morning.
After two straight losses in the play-off stage as well as a defeat in the FA Youth Cup, the Reds recovered their first points of the final phase.
Gomes netted his 13th and 14th goals of the season, whilst Ben Woodburn, Herbie Kane and Ovie Ejaria were also on target for Neil Critchley’s side in a rampant display at Motspur Park.
Despite the scoreline, it was the hosts who started brightly, with Marlon Fossey looking a threat out wide. However, the Reds soon grew into the game, with Magnus Norman being forced into a good save before Ryan Sessegnon clearing a 15th minute effort off the line.
The visiting attack again tested goalkeeper Norman, and felt unlucky to reach the interval with the scores level. However, their was a change in fortune in the 51st minute, when Gomes opened the scoring with a 20 yard half-volley which flew into the far corner.
Just three minutes later, Woodburn doubled the Reds’ lead. After Fulham youngster Jayden Harris gave the ball away, the Wales U17 captain beat substitute Moritz Jens to the ball and he cooly converted his 11th goal of the season.
The hosts responded shortly after, and somehow failed to grab a way back into the game. Fossey again caused problems out wide, and his cross found Isaac Pearce, but he fired over from inside the six yard box with Caiomhin Kelleher beaten.
The Irish goalkeeper was beaten in the 68th minute, when Aron Davies headed home a corner from Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson to make it 2-1. The Championship side had their tails up, with Thornsteinsson and Jens both going close, but to no reward.
They were left to rue those missed opportunites when in the 72nd minute, a fine counter attacking move from Liverpool ended with Ovie Ejaria firing home his fifth goal of the season on his return to the Capital.
With four minutes left, Jens made another costly mistake as this time Herbie Kane capitalised, curling home his first league goal of the season past Norman and into the far corner.
After a phenomenal performance, it was only appropriate that Gomes rounded off the scoring with the last kick of the game, with his second and Liverpool’s fifth. The Reds head away from Surrey full of confidence, and it was no better way to prepare for next week’s mini-derby, when they travel to Finch Farm to face Merseyside rivals Everton.
Liverpool XI: Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Whelan, Parker, Lewis; Coyle, Kane, Phillips (Johnston 75′); Ejaria, Gomes, Woodburn.
Fulham XI: Norman; Fossey, Opoku (Jens 58′), Davies, Sessgnon; Adeniran, O’Riley (Pearce 58′); Nabay, Kait (Harris 45′), Thornsteinsson; Adebayo.