Manchester United U23’s were back in action after an eventful match against Liverpool U23’s last Sunday.
It was interesting to see how the young Reds would handle Rovers with a few absences in defence. We saw United captain, Ethan Galbraith shift in the heart of the defence, having done the same in the previous match. Reece Devine who usually plays in the left partnered the Northern Ireland international. Meanwhile we see Dylan Levitt again playing, this time with McCann by his side. The front four did warn us about an eventful match tonight. Here is how it happened.
The Reserves started with: Mastny; Fernandez, Devine, Galbraith (C), Neville; Levitt, McCann; Shoretire, Hannibal, Diallo; Hugill. Subs: Vitek, Hardley, Helm, Stanley.
The match began with United on the front foot as they almost scored through Hugill in the first minute following a pass from Amad. On the other hand, it was notable from early in the game that both flanks would have a lot of work to do, with Neville fighting to win the ball back after a loss of possession from our new Ivorian winger. While Blackburn were trying to put pressure on United which had a makeshift defence, Hugill was making sure that the Rovers’ defence were being tested.
In a game where United have had to organise in the moment due to the defence, Charlie McCann was being quite impressive in midfield, while there are certain aspects of Levitt’s game that have been worrying in tonight’s game. Ethan Galbraith was solid in the first half in the defence as he and Mastny were completing some passes in a dangerous area. As I noted, United were indeed holding well, set pieces became a problem due to height difference.
However, the first Blackburn goal came due to a Levitt error in the back which is indeed surprising given his readability of the game. This was 1-0 Blackburn and United needed to respond quickly. They almost did immediately, however it was Rovers trying to score another, this time finding Mastny in position. A United equaliser did not take long and a solo effort from Mejbri who has been playing incredibly well in the past games, made a brilliant run moving past four challenges and score.
▪️ A hat-trick for Shola Shoretire
▪️ Three assists and a goal for @AmadDiallo_19
▪️ Goals from Hannibal and Joe Hugill
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 5, 2021
As mentioned above, Charlie McCann was quite busy this evening, however he did give away a free-kick in the edge of the area, putting United at risk of conceding. However, the shot is blocked from United’s wall. The young Reds tried to score through counter-attacks with Reece Devine. It was again United this time through McCann whose solo effort clearly deserved a better finish. This could be the story of United in every level but conceding at set pieces (mostly corners) is frustrating without a doubt. Mastny did well enough to tip wide, but United’s marking was awful leading to a Blackburn goal.
United were not done though, as they kept pushing for an equaliser which came through Shoretire. Mejbri found Amad whose pass found Shola down the centre and Shoretire does not make a mistake to make it 2-2. This was the result of the first half, while the second did not start as eventful as the first one. Reece Devine gives away a penalty, but it did seem soft, in the limits of a dive. Yet the penalty was given, and McBride scored from the spot.
To make United’s evening even more painful (in that moment), another mess in the defence gave Blackburn to score another as Fernandez claims he was fouled while Levitt misses his opponent again. The players were still trying, as a ball from Shoretire finds Amad with the later not able to put it past the keeper. Far too easy for Blackburn even when defending set pieces from United. Hannibal Mejbri, United’s best player this evening makes a brilliant run down the left, but his pass/shot could not find Shoretire and the goal for that matter.
Amad Diallo who had been quite lively in the second half receives a brilliant pass from Shoretire, but again he cannot keep pace to make it past Evans. While everything seemed over for United these lads have learnt a bit from the first team, starting the movement when they are behind. This time it was Amad who put on a brilliant cross for Shoretire and he did no mistake, this was a fabulous header. Well, United were not done here. As we were recovering from that goal, Hugill puts United level soon, but this was far from over, Shola Shoretire definitely was not.
Another assist was on the way for Amad Diallo and Shoretire again found the back of the net and it was a hat-trick for him tonight. It did not finish here as Amad Diallo was adamant to score and he did, while he and Mejbri were bullying the Blackburn Rovers defence constantly. It should be noted that Mejbri was conceding some horrible fouls and yet the referee was so reluctant in his actions.
It was a brilliant evening for United in attack, but it did give them a lot to think about in the defence. Blackburn should be given credit for the goals indeed as they are top of the league, however, United conceded due to some horrible mistakes at the back. Ethan Galbraith and Devine did well, while both of our full-backs were always moving forward, being a constant risk. 10 goals, Amad, Mejbri and Shola show, defensive errors; this was just another day in the office for our Reserves.