This was considerably better. After the dismal showing in the previous EDS derby, Simon Davies’ men were sharper, more focused and in the end deservedly came away with the three points as they acted a swift and sharp revenge on their cross-city counterparts. We were shorn of several regulars too which made the result even more satisfying. Celina, Humphreys, Adarabioyo, the Garcias Manu and Alex, Barker and Faupala all sat out, clearly with tomorrow’s FA Cup game in mind with the first team. We’ll get into that in more detail later, but whichever way you look at it, it wasn’t the strongest side available. It was by no means weak though – Gunn lined up in the sticks, Horsfield started at right back, Plummer partnered Kean Bryan in defence, and Ash Smith-Brown dropped in at left-back with Angelino pushed up to the left-wing in the absence of Barker. Aaron Nemane started on the right and u18s forward Isaac Buckley was granted a start up top. In midfield, u18s regular Rodney Kongolo pulled the strings alongside George Glendon and Sinan Bytyqi stepped infield from his usual wide-right position to complete the three.
They were good. It was an intelligent first half display. Glendon, Bytyqi and Kongolo bossed proceedings, with the former two both notably impressing with their awareness and movement of the ball. Glendon cleverly moved into space to free himself up while Bytyqi looked to drive through at the heart of defence at every opportunity, and he was effective too as he found space in the pocket between United’s midfield and defence. Kongolo was everywhere, powerfully winning the ball and showing a nuance to his game that helped swing the midfield battle City’s way. United were content to sit back in the first half as we controlled the ball, and though there wasn’t a plethora of chances, we were good value for the 1-0 lead at half-time. The goal was a good one too, Ash Smith-Brown once again scoring a beauty. He has a penchant for this, which is no bad thing for a defender. He cut in from the left, stepped in field and drilled a twenty yard effort into the bottom corner. Lovely stuff. We nearly had a second after some great work down the left, but Buckley unfortunately couldn’t climb high enough to head Angelino’s cross into the roof of the net.