Manchester United U21s faced West Ham U21s on Friday night and were trying to build on their win over Liverpool last weekend. The manager made five changes from last week’s line-up as Di’Shon Bernard, Sam Murray, Dan Gore, Toby Collyer and Mateo Mejia came into the side.
Joe Hugill lead the line and is the man in form for the Reserves.
Here is the full starting XI: Vitek, Jurado, Hardley, Bernard, Murray, Collyer, Gore, Mejia, Hansen, Forson, Hugill. Meanwhile the substitutes: Mastny, Aljofree, Huddlestone, Emeran, McNeill.
The match started with Manchester United keeping the majority of possession, however, it seemed that despite having more control in the game, the young Reds are not making the best out of it. We were not creating enough clear cut chances and the end product had been poor. It seemed that United were a bit sloppy in midfield as West Ham began to dominate in the most important areas. Team physicality was a big issue here and United could not seem to find the right way to move clearly.
This is notable especially in the way United conceded those two goals. It took West Ham only 8 minutes change the flow of the game. The opposition was right on point with the positioning and the Hammers managed to score twice in the space of four minutes. United’s area was left exposed despite having six players in the box to defend. Nothing was going United’s way at this point and Mateo Mejia was the only one making space. That said, Hugill was not being supported and was left isolated up front. The clock kept ticking but United were running out of ideas, hopeful to turn things around in the second half.
As the second half approached, the manager made a change that in the end would turn into a winning point; Di’Shon Bernard came off for Aljofree. As it seemed early in the second half, United were about to make everyone forget that poor first half. It was Forson in the 50th minute who was causing major trouble for the opposition and it was sign of thing to come. In the same occasion, Sam Murray did well enough to win a penalty for United and Joe Hugill, the man of the moment, converted from the spot.
A few minutes later, it was Mejia who had the chance to level things up quickly in the rebound shot but the West Ham goalkeeper was attentive enough and saved the attempt. Well, United were screaming for a goal and so it happened as a pass from Emeran to Jurado (possibly a deflection) towards Hugill did well enough to get things level. Joe Hugill was hat trick bound, it seemed, but the goalkeeper again was the saviour for West Ham. While he might have not scored tonight Mejia was causing riot in the right hand side and West Ham were just not dealing well with it.
As I mentioned, Aljofree’s substitute appearance did the trick and job for United, as from the corner kick we rose above all and scored a beautiful header.
What followed were a few desperate West Ham attempts with one forcing a save from Vitek in the last minute of regular time. Meanwhile, Mejia had another glorious chance to close things and score a goal but the shot was just wide. Afterwards, the referee blew the whistle to end the game and United all three points in London.
FT: West Ham U21s 2-3 #mufc U21s
United come back from 2-0 down at half-time to take all three points pic.twitter.com/Bqh9YpK74t
— utdreport Academy (@utdreportAcad) January 20, 2023