Manchester United U18’s were back in action for 2023 and in a very important competition, the FA Youth Cup. As winners of the previous, the youngsters had a difficult task to do, however not deemed as impossible.
Coach Travis Binnion started with this XI: Harrison (GK), Nolan, Murray, Aljofree, Jackson, Oyedele, Williams, Gore (C), Norkett, Moorhouse, Musa. Meanwhile, as substitutes: Wooster, Kingdon, Berry, Lacey, Fitzgerald, Scanlon, Munro.
It seemed a difficult task from the beginning as Stoke City were quite comfortable since the start of the game. Manchester United U18’s were missing Mainoo who made his debut for the first team against Charlton. However, the youngster was in the stands to support his teammates as he also has first-team training tomorrow. Now back at the game, as mentioned before Stoke were confident and they showed this six minutes in Tezgel had the first shot of the game.
United U18’s seemed to gather some pace in the game finally and visit Stoke’s area. It was Gore who won a free-kick for the visitors but Ethan Williams could not make it count. Just a few minutes later, it was Moorhouse trying to get United ahead but in vain. Daniel Gore who has been a key player for United U18’s is doing some ground work to get United forward.
Stoke kept moving well and with a bit of luck they almost scored, however, Aljofree did well enough to keep the score level. United’s best chance of the half came in the 36th minute as Jackson served Musa a brilliant cross, but Musa’s header was not strong enough and it went straight at the goalkeeper. At the other end, it was Lowe who has a chance to score, but Harrison did well enough to save it. Once again, United do not seem calm, but they keep trying to score via Murray this time. Harrison does superbly to keep the score level by the end of the first half.
Manchester United U18’s started the second half more vividly as Oyedele and Musa had two great chances in the space of six minutes. As United were finally making a decent move, Stoke City took the lead from a deflected free-kick. What came next was United trying to get back in the game but things just did not go their way. First, it was Oyedele and then Daniel Gore who tried to change something for the U18’s. It did not seem like things were about to change in the following minutes.
The youngsters were out of time and the chance to win the trophy for a second consecutive year just did not go to plan. It seemed like things were not just working in the final third and we paid with elimination from the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup. What’s left is to focus on the U18 Premier League North as we need to recover several games compared to the rest of the teams. A disappointing result, which will serve as a lesson for these youngsters. Well, we couldn’t make it in a wet and windy Wednesday night in Stoke, simple as.