After a goalless draw last Friday against Chelsea, United were looking to get back to goalscoring form against the leakiest defence in the league. Newcastle’s problems were further compounded as a chronic goalkeeping shortage forced them to field 15 year old Paul Woolston. However, United were far from full strength with James Wilson still missing, meaning Andreas Pereira would continue to fill in in the number 9 role.
Despite a relatively bright start from United it was Ben Amos who was the busier of the two keepers in the early stages, safe handling being vital in what were deteriorating conditions up in the North East. The 21st minute saw the reds’ first effort on target as a flick on from a corner forced Woolston to use his athleticism to tip the ball over the crossbar. Few chances presented themselves for either side as the adverse weather conditions continued to hamper the game, with sliding tackles flying in. Warren Joyce’s youngsters had definitely been the better team but the lack of attacking options were clear for all to see.
The second half kicked off with Newcastle taking the initiative and they duly went 1-0 up as Remie Streete the guided the ball in to the bottom corner. Amos produced a great save just a few minutes later as Varela slipped whilst trying to see the ball out for a goal kick allowing the Newcastle attacker to capitalise. Little else happened until the 74th minute when a United free kick produced another very good save from the young Geordie stopper, this was proving to be a very frustrating night for the reserves. 5 minutes later, good interplay from the reds culminated in a shot from Reece James which flashed across the goal. United continued to search for an equaliser but they were unable to break down a resilient Newcastle defence. Rothwell had a golden opportunity in the 91st minute but he skied his free kick from 20 yards out. Rowley had another chance deep in to stoppage time but unfortunately this had a similar outcome.
This was a very disappointing result as it ended Newcastle’s 6 game losing streak. However, a sense of perspective is needed as this was an even more inexperienced and unorthodox United side than usual and, considering the abysmal conditions, the result can be seen as a blip rather than a sign of things to come. United will need to move on quickly from a truly forgettable game.
Manchester United: 0
AMOS; VARELA, McNAIR, EKANGAMENE, ROWLEY; JAMES, PEARSON; JANKO, ROTHWELL, WEIR (54); A. PEREIRA (81). subs: HARROP (54), GOLLINI, RUDGE (81), GOSS.
Newcastle United: 1
WOOLSTON; STERRY, STREETE ⚽️ (61), SATKA, WILLIAMS; BIGIRIMANA, KEMEN; GILLIEAD, SMITH, AARONS; ROBERTS. subs: McKINNON (61), SMITH, MBABU, OLLEY, BARLASER.