Manchester City got their hands back on the FA Youth Cup, after beating Chelsea by 3-2 in a thrilling final at St. George's Park.
With the final stages of the 2019-20 competition delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown earlier in the year, it will have felt like a long time coming for City who suffered a penalty shootout defeat to Liverpool in last year's final.
- 2019-20 FA Youth Cup Final
- Monday 2 November 2020
- St. George's Park, Burton-on-Trent
And City, who lost against Chelsea in the Youth Cup final for three successive years between 2015 and 2018, had to work hard for their first Youth Cup title since 2008.
A team featuring the likes of Kieran Trippier, Daniel Sturridge and Ben Mee beat Chelsea over two legs on that occasion, but it'll be the names of James McAtee, Morgan Rogers and Cole Palmer who will be remembered from the class of 2020 as their goals proved enough on the night.
The teams were closely matched throughout and after a largely even first half, it was Chelsea who took the lead just before the half-hour mark.
City had held a high defensive line and Chelsea took advantage of that when Valentino Livramento played a pass into space behind their defence with Marcel Lewis racing clear, before rounding Cieran Slicker and slotting home from inside the box.
Carlos Vicens' team hit back less than ten minutes later though, as captain Tommy Doyle spun a pass down the left for Palmer to latch onto. The impressive Palmer took his time and waited for support before picking out McAtee, whose sublime finish picked out the corner to level things up at the break.
It was nearly City who took the lead shortly after the restart, when Rogers saw a powerful shot from the edge of the area clip the bar and bounce away, much to Chelsea's relief.
But Rogers didn't have to wait long for his goal, as another move down the right saw Liam Delap drive a low cross to the back post where he was waiting to tuck home.
This time Chelsea fought back though and when a counter attack saw sub Tino Anjorin play a pass into space for Lewis, he cut inside before seeing his shot take a sizeable diversion off Taylor Harwood-Bellis and past the wrong-footed Slicker
With time running out and perhaps the prospect of another shootout on the cards, City finished strongly and struck the woodwork again, as sub Jayden Braaf ran at the heart of Chelsea before seeing his fierce right-footer fly back off the post.
And Braaf played a part soon after to help create City's winner, when he played a slide-rule pass into the area for Delap.
When Delap's blocked shot looped into the six-yard box, it was fitting that it landed at the feet of Palmer, who missed the decisive spot-kick last year, and the winger gleefully smashed home from close range to win it for City.
There was still time for Chelsea to cause a final scare in stoppage time, as Livramento's cross from the right was headed wide by Myles Peart-Harris in the centre.
But when the whistle went soon after, it was time for City to celebrate the club's third Youth Cup title.
Manchester City: 1 Cieran Slicker, 2 CJ Egan-Riley, 3 Taylor Harwood-Bellis, 4 Luke Mbete-Tabu, 5 Alpha Dionkou, 6 Joe Hodge, 7 Cole Palmer, 8 Tommy Doyle (c), 9 Liam Delap, 10 James McAtee, 11 Morgan Rogers
Substitutes: 17 Jayden Braaf for Rogers 76', 14 Alex Robertson for McAtee 87'
Substitutes not used: 13 Josh McNamara, 12 Finley Burns, 15 Sam Edozie, 16 Ben Knight, 18 Oscar Bobb
Head coach: Carlos Vicens
Goals: McAtee 37', Rogers 52' & Palmer 83'
Chelsea: 1 Lucas Bergstrom, 2 Valentino Livramento, 3 Henry Lawrence, 4 Dynel Simeu, 5 Levi Colwill, 6 Lewis Bate (c), 7 Myles Peart-Harris, 8 Ben Elliott, 9 Bryan Fiabema, 10 Marcel Lewis, 11 Dion Rankine
Substitutes: 14 Tino Anjorin for Elliott 46', 15 Theierno Ballo for Fiabema 61'
Substitutes not used: 13 Jake Askew, 12 Bashir Humphreys, 16 Charlie Webster, 17 Harvey Vale, 18 Jude Soonsup-Bell
Head coach: Ed Brand
Goals: Lewis 28' & Harwood-Bellis (OG) 60'