Scorer Tay­lor ready to take place in stands

Manchester Evening News - - CITY - By STU­ART BREN­NAN stu­art.bren­[email protected] @StuBren­nanMEN

TAY­LOR Har­wood-Bel­lis cel­e­brated his first City goal – and then vowed to be at Old Traf­ford for to­mor­row’s derby, no mat­ter what.

The 17-year-old Blues star­let had an ag­o­nis­ing wait while the video as­sis­tant ref­eree (VAR) checked his de­flec­tion of a John Stones shot for off­side, as the Blues beat Port Vale 4-1 in the FA Cup third round.

Har­wood-Bel­lis is not likely to make the match­day 18 as City head across town for the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-fi­nal against United. And that means he will be seek­ing a ticket so he can cheer the Blues on from the stand, as he has done in the past.

The Stock­port lad was stand­ing a yard from the Port Vale goal-line when Stones’ shot hit his leg on its way in.

That brought a lengthy VAR anal­y­sis which found he was marginally on­side, spark­ing a fist­pump­ing cel­e­bra­tion from the teenager as he lined up for the restart.

While fans are an­gry that VAR is re­mov­ing the spon­tane­ity of goalscor­ing mo­ments, noth­ing was tak­ing away the ec­stasy of the achieve­ment for Har­wood-Bel­lis.

“I have never been in­volved in a game with VAR be­fore so I didn’t know what to ex­pect,” he said af­ter­wards. “When it went on for longer than I thought I started to think it might be a goal and when it said ‘not off­side’ I was buzzing. I thought it was a good fin­ish!”

Beat­ing Vale means that Har­wood-Bel­lis might get fur­ther first team chances, as he has only fea­tured in the do­mes­tic cup com­pe­ti­tions.

And turn­ing out in front of the Eti­had Sta­dium fans for the first time, when he has so of­ten sat amongst them, was spe­cial.

“It’s a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence and a sur­real feel­ing, get­ting a goal and an­other 90 min­utes, es­pe­cially playing in front of a home crowd, mak­ing my de­but in front of our own fans,” he said.

“It’s a big ex­pe­ri­ence and a proud day for me and my fam­ily – and I’ll take a goal how­ever it goes in.

City now pre­pare to face United and Har­wood-Bel­lis will be check­ing his phone to­day to see if he will be train­ing with the first team squad or not.

What­ever hap­pens he will be at Old Traf­ford, ei­ther as part of the squad or as a fan

“I’ll wait to see what hap­pens,” he said. “If I’m not in the squad, I’ll be in the stand. I will be there ei­ther way.

“It’s dif­fer­ent playing with the cal­i­bre of play­ers in the first team and then playing in the EDS, but I still work my hard­est, do ev­ery­thing I can and chip in with goals. It doesn’t change for me – it’s all foot­ball at the end of the day.”

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