By Scott Taylor
Glen McAuley scored a brace on his first start as Liverpool U18s bounced back from last week’s defeat with a 3-1 victory against Stoke at the Kirkby Academy on Saturday morning. The Irishman opened the scoring in the 15th minute before the youngster scored his and his side’s second shortly after to put Neil Critchley’s men in control. Despite going down to ten men when Scot Wara was sent off, substitute Jordan Greenidge pulled a goal back in the 70th minute, but Rhian Brewster sealed the win in injury time.Liverpool started the game deploying a 3-5-2 formation, with Adam Lewis and Rafa Camacho operating as full-backs, whilst McAuley and Liam Millar formed a partnership up front.
It was England U16 international Lewis who provided the assist for the Reds’ first, as his cross found McAuley, and he fired his side in front.
The pair combined again for Liverpool’s second midway through the first half. Lewis’ teasing cross curled around the backtracking Stoke defence and McAuley, who took a touch before he sent a venomous volley into the back of the net.
The Potters’ morning soon went from bad to worse as defender Wara was given his marching orders for a last-ditch foul on Canadian Millar as the visitors ended the half with ten men.
They did have something to cheer about midway through the second half, when Greenidge prodded the ball home after Kamil Grabara made a superb one-handed save, but diverted the ball into the Stoke midfielder’s path.
However, England U17 international Brewster restored the Reds’ three goal cushion with a third in added-time with his first of the season, as Liverpool got back to winning ways.
The win sees Neil Critchley’s side rise to third in the U18 Premier League and are now just one point behind the leaders Manchester City and will look to close the gap when they travel to Middlesbrough next Saturday.
Liverpool U18s (3-5-2): Grabara; Masterson, Parker, Johnston; Camacho, Hunter, Coyle, Lewis; Brewster; McAuley (Simmonds 77’), Millar (Gomes 57’).