City XI 1, Manchester City XI 3

There was no Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor or Robinho as Manchester City rode into town.

The mega-bucks Premier League all-stars are currently in South Africa, so it was a youthful Blues outfit that took on City in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Valley Parade.

Amid the pouring rain, Stuart McCall got the opportunity to have another look at some of his trialists, with Grant Smith impressing most.

The former Carlisle man played left back – his third different position in as many games – and looked assured and composed in dealing with some lively Man City opponents.

Guiseley striker James Hanson also got a start and he proved useful in the air, winning plenty of headers while linking up well in the first half especially.

His work rate could not be faulted as the leggy frontman continually harassed the visiting defence, although he had few opportunities to show the firepower that has made him such a hit at non-league level.

Hanson was restricted to one decent effort early in the second half when Man City keeper Kasper Schmeichel – son of Manchester United legend Peter and a Premier League performer in his own right – was forced to dive low to his right and turn a 20-yard effort around his post.

But Hanson did play a part in City’s goal, which was scored by Peter Thorne in the 35th minute to level things at 1-1.

Right back Jonathan Bateson swung in a good cross which Hanson headed back across the six-yard box.

It ricocheted off Man City centre half Clayton McDonald straight to Thorne, who had an easy tap-in for his first goal of pre-season.

Thorne, the only City regular to appear, captained the side and got nearly an hour of action under his belt.

Trialists Jevgeni Novikov and Jordan Hadfield made up the centre of City’s midfield and, while busy, spent much of the contest battling to gain some sort of control against the skilful visiting duo.

Man City also had plenty of pace and flair up front in strikers Alex Nimley and David Ball, along with tricky left winger Donal McDermott.

Jon McLaughlin – back from Student Games international duty – was called upon in the early seconds to block a swift strike from Ball, while Phil Cutler launched a desperate tackle to deny Nimley just as he found space to shoot.

The visitors did open the scoring on 13 minutes though with a well-worked effort. Midfielder James Poole picked up a loose pass, fed Nimley down the right and his early cross was laid off by Ball for Poole to come in and strike home, McLaughlin only able to get a hand to the shot.

Leon Osborne showed some neat touches going down the left flank for City and got in one good scoring position only to be muscled out by solid defending from Dedryck Boyata.

Man City had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half and they opened up the hosts again with some slick inter-play on 63 minutes.

Paul Marshall slipped a ball through for Karl Moore to race in on behind Bateson and the substitute whipped in a cross that Nimley nimbly nodded home.

McLaughlin was kept busy and pulled off some decent saves, including a great reaction stop off Robert Mak. But he was powerless to prevent Ball making it three late on and City had few other opportunities.

Their opponents showed plenty of enterprise and effort, considering their position. Isn’t that one of the most thankless tasks, being a budding youngster for the richest club in the world who have just splashed out more than £100million in transfer fees?

McCall, meanwhile, is likely to field a stronger City side for the visit of Barnsley on Saturday but said: “It was a game we needed and I actually wanted to have a look at a couple of Man City’s players too.

“Unfortunately, the positions in which we need, they haven’t got anyone available but it’s all about getting fitness up for our lads.

“A lot of our squad players needed it. Thorney managed to get 60 minutes, Jon McLaughlin is back and needed a match after being away and we got to have another look at some trialists.

“Unfortunately the Estonian lad (Novikov) tweaked his abductor muscle before the game, so that’s why he only got an hour.”

City: McLaughlin, Bateson, Smith, Novikov (Dean 59), Cutler, Horne, Sharry, Hadfield, Hanson (Mitchell 84), Thorne (R Boulding 59), Osborne.

Man City: Schmeichel, Kay, Logan, Ibrahim, McDonald, Boyata, Poole, Marshall, Ball (Mak HT), Nimley, McDermott (Moore HT).