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CITY RESERVES PICK UP SHEFF UTD AWAY WIN

1 February 2017

City's reserves claimed a single-goal victory over Sheffield United in the Central League Cup at Stocksbridge Park Steels' Look Local Stadium this Wednesday afternoon.

Reece Webb-Foster's well-taken goal midway through the first half was enough to claim a 1-0 success for the Bantams against their South Yorkshire hosts.

Deadline day signings Matthew Penney and Jacob Hanson were given their first outings in City colours, while another incoming during the January transfer window, Alex Gilliead, also played the full match.

In front of the watching City boss Stuart McCall, young pros Joe Cracknell, Daniel Devine, Ellis Hudson and James King featured as well for the Bantams in the reserve encounter.

After a fairly even opening to the contest, United were first to create a clear scoring chance in the fourteenth minute.

Nat Croft engineered the opportunity for the hosts, with his forward pass playing Jordan Hallam into space inside City's penalty area. 

Hallam turned away from the attentions of both King and his central defensive partner Sam Wright but the attacker's low drive for goal was pushed away by Cracknell by his near post.

Croft was nearly on the end of the Blades' next chance when Jake Bennett broke the Bantams' offside trap. Crucially for City though, Wright was on hand to clear behind as the United right-back looked to pick out his team-mate for a potential tap-in in the middle.

Despite those two chances for United though, it was City who took the lead in the twenty-sixth minute through Webb-Foster.

After Hudson's free-kick into the box from wide was cleared, Gilliead was on hand to head back into the mix, finding Webb-Foster in a small pocket of space as a result.

Webb-Foster took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him by firing into the far bottom corner with a neat finish on the bounce past United shot-stopper Jake Eastwood.

United threatened from a set-piece of their own ten minutes from the break but imposing defender Sam Graham's header was straight at Cracknell.

Croft and Louis Reed enjoyed sights of goal as time ran out in the opening period but it was City who could have easily doubled their lead shortly before the interval with two decent chances.

From Penney's eye-catching cross-field ball from deep, Gilliead was able to set off and drive into space down City's right flank. 

His low cross into the middle was just deflected out of the path of Casey Taglione by Joe Cummings, denying the City forward the opportunity for a simple close range finish.

Taglione still eventually managed to get hold of the ball but his attempted cut-back towards the lurking Webb-Foster was cleared by an alert Cummings again.

Webb-Foster did manage to get a strike on goal in the final minute of the half but his powerful effort from an angle inside the box was pushed away by Eastwood.

After going close just before the break, City also had an early opening in the second period.

From Gilliead's short corner with Hudson, the winger whipped a cross into the box from an angle and the ball flicked off the head of Graham Kelly before rattling against Eastwood's crossbar.

Wright and Taglione tried to scramble the ball home on the rebound but the latter was flagged offside.

Gilliead, who looked comfortable on the ball throughout, was involved again later in the half when he played Taglione into space inside United's penalty area, but the young striker's rising drive went narrowly wide of the side-netting by Eastwood's near post.

After threatening from a set-piece in the first period for United, Graham went close again for the hosts in the second half when he headed narrowly wide of the far post from a Hallam corner delivery.

Webb-Foster had the ball in the net thirteen minutes from the end but play had already been halted following a nasty head injury to Eastwood.

Gilliead's fine cross-field pass found Webb-Foster in space inside the box, the striker blasted the ball goalwards at pace and the rising drive caught the United shot-stopper full in the face.

Webb-Foster tapped home the rebound but the goal was disallowed as attentions had already turned to the welfare of Eastwood.

Thankfully, Eastwood was eventually able to walk off the pitch following treatment but he was understandably unable to carry on.

With United having used all of their allocated substitutions, Eastwood's withdrawal meant Graham had to go in goal and the Blades would finish the game with only ten men.

City tried to test out Graham almost straight away but Webb-Foster's drive from distance was held by the makeshift goalkeeper and Gilliead fired wide after being found in space in the box.

Kwame Boateng for City and Hallam for United both went narrowly wide with strikes from distance in the lengthy injury time that followed due to the treatment for Eastwood.

Six minutes extra were played in total but City managed to see the game out to secure the victory.

CITY XI

1. Joe Cracknell
2. Jacob Hanson
3. Matthew Penney
4. Daniel Devine
5. James King (c)
6. Sam Wright
7. Alex Gilliead
8. Kwame Boateng
9. Reece Webb-Foster
10. Casey Taglione
11. Ellis Hudson

Subs:

12. George Sykes-Kenworthy
14. Alex Laird
15. Reece Powell

Substitutions:
Powell for Taglione (70)

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