Manchester City 4, Port Vale 1 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
Manchester City qualified for the fourth round of the FA Cup after beating League Two Port Vale 4-1 with Taylor Harwood-Bellis scoring his first ever goal on his full home debut.Embed from Getty Images
Oleksandr Zinchenko’s deflected goal was cancelled out by Tom Pope’s header against the run of play before Sergio Aguero bundled home Phil Foden’s volleyed cross.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis didn’t know much about his first goal in professional football at the age of 17 years and 339 days as John Stones’ shot went in off his leg making him City’s youngest goal scorer since Micah Richards.
And Phil Foden capped off a fine performance adding City’s fourth goal to his earlier assist to kill off Port Vale.
Pep Guardiola made seven changes to the side that beat Everton with Manchester City’s Carabao Cup clash at Old Trafford on Tuesday in mind.
Only four players remained in the team to face Port Vale, with Stones, Harwood-Bellis, Angelino, Oleksandr Zinchenko, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, and Sergio Aguero coming into the side to face the League Two side while Eric Garcia, Rodrigo, Fernandinho, Benjamin Mendy, Riyad Mahrez, Kevin Be Druyne, and Gabriel Jesus rested.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis makes his full debut at the Etihad Stadium for Manchester City
Harwood-Bellis was making his full debut for City in an unfamiliar looking defence, with Zinchenko fielded as a left sided centre back with Angelino pushing up at left wing-back.
Port Vale were buoyed on by 8,000 travelling fans and had a decent chance in the first attack of the game as Scott Burgess’ shot was deflected out for corner by Zinchenko after cut back by Tom Pope who had hoped for some drama to go with his pre-match comments about John Stones.
But City piled on the pressure after that with Phil Foden epitomising the fighting spirit by tracking back from his inside forward role to help protect Joao Cancelo.
Foden’s 12 yard header from David Silva’s cutback forced the first save of the day from Scott Brown, who held on to the tame effort after 16 minutes.
Little over two minutes later, Zinchenko’s long range shot from 25 yards out took a deflection off Leon Legge and looped over the diving Brown in the Vale goal following Ilkay Gundogan’s layoff for his first goal of the season for the Blues.
It was harsh on the Port Vale ‘keeper who went on to make several saves to keep the score respectable.
Six minutes later David Silva scuffed a tap-in laid on by Gundogan – his mishit shot spun onto the crossbar from little more than a yard out with the goal at his mercy at the back post and Aguero – just as surprised as everyone else – was unable to connect with the rebound as the ball fell in front of goal.
It was all City as Port Vale retreated behind the blue carousel with Angelino shooting through a crowd only to be denied by Brown on his line.
But after 35 minutes the Valiants were on level terms and David Amoo’s curling cross found Pope who beat a flat-footed Harwood-Bellis to the ball and glanced it past Claudio Bravo with the visitors’ first shot on target for his 7th goal of the season.
The visiting fans were jubilant, aping a familiar City refrain as they sang ‘feed the Pope and he will score’.
But City were ahead again before the break when Ilkay Gundogan found Phil Foden with a quick forward pass and the youngster’s volleyed cross was turned in by Sergio Aguero from 2 yards out, bundling the ball into the roof of the net 3 minutes before half time for his 15th goal of the season.
The goal was confirmed after a lengthy and unnecessary VAR check for offside meaning that the Argentine had scored more FA Cup goals, 19 from 21 appearances, than any other player since he joined City in 2011.
City could have been 3-1 up after the break when Angelino’s cut back was skied by Aguero from the edge of the area.
Aguero’s cross was almost headed in by Bernardo Silva but his header back across goal shaved the back post, while Phil Foden had two chances saved by Brown.
Taylor Harwood-Bellis scores his first professional goal on his full home debut for Manchester City
It was becoming inevitable that City would score but the next scorer was unexpected, with John Stones’ shot from 5 yards out coming off Taylor Harwood-Bellis a yard out from goal during a City attack.
VAR once again delayed the kick off after a marginal decision on offside between Harwood-Bellis and Legge.
Substitute Tom Conlon’s diving header went wide after Stones’ attempted clearance was charged down by Pope and looped up nicely for the Port Vale man.
But City were on top and Foden and David Silva went close again before Foden finally got on the scoresheet, sweeping home from 7 yards after Gundogan’s long pass found Angelino and the wing-back put in another great cross for Foden’s third goal of the season.
And City continued to put the visitors under pressure with Riyad Mahrez and Foden defied by Vale before the end.
GOALS – Manchester City 4, Port Vale 1 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
Man City 1, Port Vale 0: 19. Ilkay Gundogan laid off the ball to Oleksandr Zinchenko and his 25 yard effort took a deflection off Leon Legge to deceive Scott Brown in the Port Vale goal.
Man City 1, Port Vale 1: 35. David Amoo’s curling cross from the right was met by Tom Pope who beat Taylor Harwood-Bellis to the ball to head it past Claudio Bravo with their first shot on target.
Man City 2, Port Vale 1: 42. City. Ilkay Gundogan found Phil Foden with a quick forward pass and the youngster’s colleyed cross was tapped in by Sergio Aguero from 2 yards out into the roof of the net which was confirmed after a VAR check.
Man City 3, Port Vale 1: 58. Taylor Harwood-Bellis got on the scoresheet after John Stones’ swept shot from 5 yards out came off his standing leg a yard out – a lengthy VAR check confirmed that Leon Legge was playing him onside
Man City 4, Port Vale 1: 76. Phil Foden got a richly deserved goal after sweeping in Angelino’s cross from 7 yards out after the wing-back was released by a long pass by Ilkay Gundogan
MATCH STATS – Manchester City 4, Port Vale 1 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
Man City: Bravo, Cancelo, Stones, Harwood-Bellis, Angelino, Gundogan (Doyle 77), David Silva, Zinchenko, Bernardo Silva (Mahrez 77), Foden, Aguero
Man City Subs not used: Carson, Walker, Sterling, Jesus, Garcia
Goals: Zinchenko 19, Aguero 42, Harwood-Bellis 58, Foden 76
Port Vale: Brown, Gibbons, Smith, Legge, Burgess (Conlon 61), Worrall, Joyce, Taylor (Atkinson 61), Montano, Pope (Cullen 79), Amoo
Port Vale Subs not used: Maddison, Browne, Bennett, Brisley
Goal: Pope 35
Referee: Lee Mason