By Scott Taylor
Glen McAuley scored his eighth goal of the season as Liverpool U18s went top of the Premier League with a 2-0 victory against Sunderland at the Kirkby Academy on Saturday afternoon. McAuley opened the scoring in the 19th minute to continue his rich vein of form in front of goal in just his sixth start of the season. Neil Critchley’s other in-form striker Yan Dhanda then struck his fifth goal of the season to secured the points in the 81st minute as Liverpool made it four wins on the bounce.The Liverpool Head Coach made two changes from the side that thrashed Derby 5-1 last week as Ben Williams replaced Caoimhin Kelleher in goal and Toni Gomes replaced the injured Herbie Kane.
It was the young Reds, playing at the Kirkby Academy for the first time in four matches, that started brighter with Dhanda going close in the early moments.
Liverpool were facing a Sunderland side that were without a win all season, and the pressure told midway through the first half when the hosts opened the scoring.
Jordan Hunter’s through ball found McAuley and the Republic Of Ireland U17 international made no mistake with a first-time effort to score in his fourth game in a row.
Despite the points difference between the sides, the visitors did grow back into the game and restricted the Reds in attack, with Conor Masterson having a rare sight on goal.
Liverpool had to be grateful to goalkeeper Williams, as the youngster made a string of fine saves to deny Jack Diamond and his Sunderland team-mates.
The Premier League’s bottom side were left to rue these missed opportunities as Dhanda secured all three points for his side, cutting in off the left wing and curling a right-footed effort into the corner.
Even though McAuley and Dhanda were creating the headlines in the final third, Williams’ outstanding performance was the key, as the stopper kept his second clean sheet in two games for the U18s.
Liverpool U18s are next in action when they travel to 11th placed Wolves as they look to increase the gap at the summit of the Premier League.
Liverpool U18s: Williams; Lewis, Masterson, Johnston, Owens; Coyle (Lattie), Hunter; Gomes (Adekanye), Dhanda, Camacho; McAuley (Simmonds).