Doubles for McLoughlin and Varney as Town stroll to a comfortable victory
A scintillating first-half performance was enough to secure a comprehensive victory for Town’s U21s against Bristol City this afternoon.
Luke Varney and Shane McLoughlin bagged a brace each while Adam McDonnell and Larsen Toure also got in on the act as the Blues raced into a six goal lead by the break, before the Robins pulled one back from the penalty spot with less than ten minutes to play.
McLoughlin got the ball rolling with under five minutes on the clock, as he swivelled in the box before firing high into the net from close range after Paul Digby had flicked a Jay Tabb header into the path of the Irishman.
Town wouldn’t have to wait long to double their advantage as Toure was sent sprawling in the box by Robins goalkeeper Jojo Woolacott, leaving the referee with little option but to award a spot-kick. Adam McDonnell stepped up and confidently side-footed the ball into the top corner of the net, as the Blues looked firmly in control.
That domination continued, and a Varney double soon followed as the experienced forward firstly slotted Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ slide pass home from close range, before showing his instincts to ghost in at the back post to prod in Town’s fourth of the game soon after, as an Andre Dozzell corner was headed into Varney’s path by the impressive McDonnell.
The goals kept coming, and the pick of the bunch undoubtedly came from Toure, as his free-kick from 25 yards whipped expertly into the top corner of the net, leaving Woolacott with no chance.
Town’s sixth and final goal came with just minutes remaining of the opening period as McLoughlin broke free of the City back-line and looked to round the Robins ‘keeper, who appeared to trip the striker, but he kept his composure to swing a leg at the ball whilst on the ground to cap a tremendous opening 45 minutes.
The second-half offered very little goalmouth action of note, although McDonnell and Maitland-Niles both had efforts comfortably saved, as did City’s Joe Morrell
The Robins would grab a consolation goal, though, as Shawn McCoulsky fired a penalty past Michael Crowe after a cross from the left had struck an arm, with the Welsh U21 international unfortunate not to keep it out.
The spot-kick turned out to be the final action of the game as Town ran out worthy winners at Playford Road.
Town: Crowe, Smith, Tabb, McDonnell, Emmanuel, Digby, Maitland-Niles (Blanchfield, 77), Dozzell, Varney (McKendry, 77), McLoughlin, Toure (Smith, 77). Subs not used: Marsden, Kenlock.
Pics via James Ager
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