IT was a mixed set of results for Maiden City Academy underage sides in the NIBFA National League.
The U16 lost 2-0 at Cliftonville, the U14 drew with Oxford, in the League Cup the U13 lost 4-0 to Ridgeway Rovers, also in the League Cup Magherfelt Sky Blues had a 2-1 win over MCA U12’s.
Limavady Youths had an impressive 4-1 over the U11’s and Northend United drew 2-2 before winning on penalites to knock Maiden City Colts U11.
MCA U16’s made the long trip to Cherry Vale Belfast for their league encounter with the league leaders Clifftonville, on Sunday morning.
With Clifftonville looking to consolidate first place and Maiden City looking to move up the table, both teams where eager to put in a performance to ensure all three points.
Clifftonville came out of the traps flying, testing the visitors rear guard with several high balls.
After the opening ten minutes, the game settled and MCA came into the game, however a throw in out left and a well flicked on header split the Maiden City defence and Clifftonville’s number 10, went in to score.
It was more off the same in the second half, MCA trying to get the ball down and play, while the Belfast men went for a more direct brand off football.
City came into the game and had several half chances, however in the 48th minute Clifftonville doubled the lead with a high ball over the top, to allow their forward to knock the ball over the rushing keeper.
Next up for MCA is the quarter finals off the Northern Ireland Cup against Linfield.
MCA U14 started the game very brightly with good attacking play and passing, with Sam McDermott, Gareth Crawford and Alex Carolan dominating the midfield area.
MCA created a host of chances in the first which saw the Oxford keeper pull off a number of fine saves and David Parkhouse and Cathan McLaughlin were unlucky not to put City ahead before the break.
After the break MCA continued to play very neat football and kept the ball very well but from a defensive mistake Oxford took the lead against the run of play when a clearance fell to Zac Gorman outside the box and he rifled in past Toraigh McConnell. MCA kept their heads and continued to play their passing game.
MCA drew level when Sam McDermott found space in the centre circle and hit a great pass to Michael Brown on the left of the box who took one touch and rifled the ball into the opposite corner.
MCA continued to press but could find the winner but credit has to go the Oxford goalkeeper and back four who defended very well.
Best on the day for MCA was the entire team.
On a different note from the team it was great to see Lucas Condren back with a smile on his face and will be great to have him back in the squad shortly.
MCA U14: T McConnell, C Higgins, M Barr, J McKinney, J Green, J Devenney, A Carolan, G Crawford, S McDermott, D Parkhouse, C McLaughlin. Subs: M Duffy, M Brown & M Doherty (all used)
Ridgeway Rovers U13...4
MCA took on Ridgeway Rovers at Lisneal on Saturday. Ridgeway, who are sitting near the top of the under 13 A league, were always going to be formidable opponents.
City, who had been disappointing in the Irish Cup last week, gave a much more committed performance.
In the opening half there was little between the two teams, both had good opportunities to score but were to be denied by good defending. Ian Maxwell at the back for City played well throughout and was well supported by captain Ewan McGrath, Michael Kelly and the ever reliable Ryan Higgins.
The opening goal, which so often at this level proves decisive, went the way of Ridgeway. A good through ball saw the Rovers’ centre forward outpace City’s defence before slotting the ball past the advancing Shane Wallace in goal.
City fought hard to get a goal back before half time but were to go two goals down on the stroke of half-time.
Rovers were awarded a corner kick, the ball was well delivered into City’s box before falling kindly to their forward who made no mistake from two yards out.
The game was ended as a contest following a defensive mix up between Shane Wallace and Ryan Higgins allowing Rovers centre forward a simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net.
City conceded a fourth goal in the dying minutes leaving Rovers well deserved victors.
MCA U13: Shane Wallace, Ian Maxwell, Ryan Higgins, Ewan McGrath, Michael Kelly, Josh Green, Odhran McCrossan, Cian Catney, Ethan Coll, Oran McGill, Jack Doherty. Subs: Eoghan Crilly, Justin McGee & Adam Gillespie (all used).
Magherfelt Sky Blues U12...2 MCA U12 bowed out of the League Cup at home to the Sky Blues in a very good game of football.
With only seven minutes on the clock the visitors took the lead when a ball over the top found the striker who took control before passing to his team mate on the edge of the box who dispatched his shot high into the roof of the net.
After the goal Magherfelt had their tails up and it didn’t take long for them to double their lead.
This time it was from corner as the Sky Blue player found space in the box and had a free header to make it 2-0.
City finally started to show their ability on the ball and played some neat and incisive football leading to good chances for Cahir McMonagle and Matthew McGarrigle.
After the break City played several passes through defence and into midfield before a pass from Odhran Friel released Toland who travelled with the ball unpressured and looked up to access his options and his inch perfect pass found the well timed run of Cahir McMonagle who made no mistake in front of goal.
City now bow out of the Cup and will play Sion Swifts in the next round of the National League Plate in a fortnight’s time.
MCA U12: Ben Mills, Ross Barr, Jamie Robinson, Tom McLaughlin, Christopher Clifford, Tyler Toland, Odhran Friel, Luke Toland, Matthew McGarrigle, Cahir McMonagle, Aaron Rush. Subs Connor Pulley, Tom King, Liam Cole & Sean Carlin (all used).