The Reserves of Manchester United welcomed Wigan Athletic to Moss Lane on yet another freezing cold night in Altrincham and as soon as the team sheets became available, excitement swept through the ground, this was due to the appearances of established first teamers Darron Gibson and Rafael Da Silva who after sustaining long term injuries, made their long awaited return. There were also places for Ravel Morrison, Paul Pogba and Ezekiel Fryers.
The game kicked off with United looking to press and hassle their opponents from the first whistle which lead to lots of possession for the reds and inevitably chances came. With just 16 minutes on the clock, Ravel Morrison picked up the ball outside the box and proceeded to run at the Wigan defence, and after sidestepping two defenders, curled the ball into the bottom corner, a fantastic individual goal from the 18 year old. United grew in confidence after the goal, and 5 minutes before the break, Paul Pogba’s free kick was saved brilliantly by the Wigan keeper Lee Nicholls. Half time arrived with the score line at 1-0, the supporters at the game were attracted to the appearance of Fabio Da Silva, who had decided to come and watch his brother and the team.
United started the second half as they had ended the first; lots of pressure lead to a mistake from the Wigan defender and Will Keane played in Morrison who finished coolly into the bottom corner, another classy finish from the youngster. Not long after it was 3-0; Davide Petrucci latching onto a lose ball and firing home, it had now become clear that every time United had the ball in the Wigan half, a goal could be scored at any given moment.
In the closing stages of the game Massacci and Cofie came off the bench to replace Will Keane and Pogba, the latter was surprisingly subdued by his very high standards. A fourth goal was inevitable and it came in the 78th minute, Zeki Fryers heading in an accurate cross, a well deserved goal for a player who has excelled in the early stages of the season.
With 10 minutes remaining, Wigan gained a consolation goal, Nouha Dicko taking advantage of a slip from Vermijl and striking the ball powerfully onto the cross bar and into the net. This all but wrapped up proceedings; the game petered out in its final minutes, although Ben Amos did pull off an excellent save to deny Wigan a second goal.
A comfortable victory for United, and an impressive display from Ravel Morrison and the always reliable Davide Petrucci meant the reds took all 3 points, and with the Carling Cup Quarter Final vs Crystal Palace approaching, a lot of the starting XI from the game will be hoping to impress and try and earn place in the first team.
Star Man: Ravel Morrison