Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Friday September 16 2011
The balmy evening sunshine over Ewen Fields must have felt like home for Barcelona's U-19 squad as they brought their brand of football and weather to the home of unbeaten Hyde FC last night.
A bumper attendance in excess of 2000 made it a second historic night in succession for the meteoric football club that is Manchester City.
With the nation's scouts out in abundance, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway looking on and even such magninficent sportswriters like Patrick Barclay enjoying the inaugural match as far as City is concerned, this proved to be a great occasion.
The local residents may not have been too pleased to find their usual parking spaces taken by football supporters as they arrived home from work, but I'm sure the community will accept the fact that international club football played at Ewen Fields is a new milestone in Tameside.
From the start this was going to be a game to behold, with Barca showing how the ethos of their play stretches well beyond just the first team. Their team contained a player of 15 years of age and the oldest was 18. They passed, moved and showed all around the pitch but they were ably mastered by City for long periods.
But it could have fallen apart early when Dongou found himself clear and promptly scored, only to see the referee's assistant's flags fluttering in the light air. A warning for City of what was on the table, no doubt.
Not to be outdone the Blues flashed down to the other end where the impressive Henshall unleashed a drive that struck the post. Bunn was on to the rebound sharply but his goalbound shot was blocked on the line.
Barca took command for a while where up front Dongou and Babunski were indeed a handful to the extent that the latter fortunately for him fired the Catalans into the lead with a deflected shot that left Johansen stranded.
It looked for a while as if Barca would seize control but a game display in midfield kept City in touch and a sweeping move involivng Roman, Suarez and finally an Englishman, Harry Bunn ended with an equisite goal by Bunn to draw City level.
This could quite easily have read Nasri, Silva and Aguero such was the fluency of movement and the deeadliness of the finish.
For the remainder of the half City pressed on but the half ended with honours even.
Barca came out for the second half in a more determined mood. On the front foot from the start life was tough for City's young lions and in the 53rd minute Babunski underlined his potential by firing a rocket shot past Johansen to reignite the visitors.
Again City would not lie down, but just couldn't get the break they needed. It was end to end entertainment for an appreciative audience who I'm sure enjoyed the spectacle and wondered why they don't visit Ewen Fields more regularly to watch quality junior level football played by the starts of the future.
City fell just short as the score remained 2-1 although Barca could have unustly stretched their lead towards the end.
This is great football to watch. In Denis Suarez we have a 16 year old groomed in the mould of David Silva. Juan Roman under the guidance of Pablo Zabaleta caresses the football as if it is his own and Hensall and Bunn add in an English touch of power.
Next up is Celtic on 17 October, kick off 1900. Book early if you want a seat!
Date:Friday September 16 2011
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