City Reserves v Wigan Athletic 13/04/10
As the City Reserves players entered the Manchester Regional Arena for last night's final home match of the Season you could forgive Scott Kay for still looking as though he was on Cloud 9! All smiles, excitement and geniality from the latest Academy lad to make it into the first team courtesy of Manager Roberto Mancini.
How fitting also that in the week when we welcomed back our legendary German goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann that Loris Karius should play in goal for the Reserves.
An exciting young team took the field last night which included Roque Santa Cruz, although it was unfortunate that Andrew Tutte had to sacrifice his place in the team for Roque to play.
For Wigan there were names such as Redmond and McManaman in the line-up! And Daniel Redmond, son of Steve for me was easily their best player on the night excelling himself in a hard match where he was constantly up against either David Ball or Abdi Ibrahim.
As expected, with the team we had out the early pressure was on the Wigan goal and it was probably nearly half an hour before they started to get the ball forward.
On 18 mins Tripper won a crunch tackle, the ball found its way to David Ball who despatched it into the back of the net.
The tackle proved to be the end of Kieran's evening, but the good news is that he did not leave as a guest of NWAS.
I mentioned last week that when we played Blackburn the players returning from injury put the work in, keen to earn their place back in the first team. The same cannot be said for Santa Cruz. He did practically nothing and the one chance he had to score - well he even missed the hammer throwers net behind the goal. He did nothing to convince watching Roberto Mancini that he is the man to play against Stretford's finest on Saturday. He looked leaden-footed, off the pace, did not make any important runs into the box and all he really did was keep a disappointed Tutte out of the match for an hour and force David Ball to have to play wide.
So after 63 mins, Andy Welsh decided to introduce Andrew Tutte and RSC left the field.
The match had become more balanced with Wigan asking some questions but never really troubling Karius in the City goal.
At the other end there were one or two chances and Alex Nimely another recent promotee to the first team squad made it 2-0 as the match headed into stoppage time. The always lively Nimely certainly made more of a claim to be on the bench on Saturday than Santa Cruz.
Needless to say the Management Team were delighted with the result, a clean sheet and the 2 attack leaders amongst the goals. We can't win the Barclays Reserve League this season but another exciting team is emerging here with some superb players..and we know that Mancini is not afraid to use them in the first team! And as for Scott Kay..well he was still smiling at the end having put in another excellent performance