With one eye on the FA Youth Cup game at Huddersfield this Friday; Manchester United fielded an experimental side with the notable exception of James Wilson, leaving the starting eleven with no recognised striker. The young reds were looking to build upon last weeks impressive performance and started in similar fashion, maneuvering the ball from side to side with a high tempo in the opening few minutes.
However, very little goal-mouth action occurred with our intricate play unable to break down a solid defensive unit whilst Ben Amos made a good punch from a West Ham corner. The first shot on target came in the 22nd minute when Petrucci produced a wonderful turn to create space for himself in between two opposition players but his shot was straight down the keepers throat. The best chance of the game so far fell in the 32nd minute when a West Ham player put wide a free header from inside the 6 yard box.
Less than a minute later they were made to pay from the unlikeliest of sources as Michael Keane popped up just inside the West Ham area before a sharp turn and tidy finish through a defenders’ legs found the bottom corner. A goal any of the absent strikers would have been proud of.
West Ham equalised in the 41st minute as Fanimo’s volley flew past Amos after Lee controlled a pinpoint cross (even West Ham’s reserves can do it) which the midfielder followed on to.
The game had exploded into life and United took the lead again, courtesy of a stunning Pereira strike from outside the box which curled into the top corner. The first half action was not over as Rothwell rattled the crossbar from Saidy Janko’s powerful cut-back. In truth he should have scored. This was an outstanding end to what had otherwise been a poor game.
Unfortunately, the 2nd half did not continue in the same vain as the first finished with a few speculative efforts being the only thing of note in the opening 25 minutes.
A moment of controversy came in the 75th minute as Pereira was seemingly hauled down in the box by Page, who was already on a yellow card, but the referee decided the foul had taken place outside the box. Lingard had the chance to finish it with just over 10 to go but he could not stretch far enough and sliced his shot wide.
The reds endured a nervy final 5. Lingard lashed a shot from the angle into the stands during extra time but that was it as far chances were concerned. A brilliant 5 minutes at the end of the first half being the only bright sparks of a very dull game. The reds leapfrog West Ham in the table and continue to strive to that important top 4 places. The focus now turns to the u18s in the youth cup with fingers crossed that Wilson has recovered from a minor illness and Pereira is fit after being taken off due to a slight knock.
AMOS; VARELA, LOVE, M. KEANE ⚽️, JAMES; JANKO, PEARSON, A. PEREIRA⚽️(85), PETRUCCI, ROTHWELL (73), LINGARD. subs: GRIMSHAW (73), GOLLINI,ROWLEY (85), MCNAIR, WILLOCK.
SPIEGEL; KNOYLE, CHAMBERS, POTTS, PAGE; BYWATER (77), WHITEHEAD, LLETGET (59), RAZAK (59), FANIMO ⚽️; LEE. subs: MAKASI (59), NEMRAVA, HARNEY, TURGOTT (59), MAGUIRE(77).