Barclays Premier Reserves League play-off
Old Trafford, Thursday 10 May



United win 3-1 on penalties

10/05/2012 21:08, Report by Adam Marshall
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Reserves' national glory

Sam Johnstone was the hero as United won the Barclays Premier Reserve League play-off final  with a 3-1 defeat of Aston Villa on penalties after a goalless draw. 

Most of the chances came in the second period but the Reds had to settle for a third 0-0 draw in succession at this level, meaning a shoot-out was required to decide the victors at Old Trafford. Johnstone made three stunning saves - from Samir Carruthers, Danny Johnson and Courtney Cameron - to ensure the Reds lifted the trophy. Joshua King, with a slice of good fortune, Jesse Lingard and Will Keane gave the hosts a 100 percent record from the spot.

The first half disappointed in terms of entertainment with both sides taking time to get to grips with the occasion although Will Keane had a half-hearted penalty shout turned down by referee Neil Swarbrick after being pushed by Nathan Baker inside the box. Ryan Tunnicliffe snapped into a couple of bone-crunching tackles and Michael Keane also impressed in defence but Villa carved out a couple of openings as the interval approached.

Michael Drennan's shot was deflected off target by Sam Johnstone when a Danny Johnson cross fell to him and Samir Carruthers found himself in the clear after a one-two but finished poorly. The second half was far more open with substitutes Marnick Vermijl and Robbie Brady making in-roads down the right.

Brady fed the overlapping Vermijl who crossed invitingly but Will Keane could only place his finish wide when a goal seemed on the cards. A Brady cross was fisted away by Benjamin Siegrist with Will Keane lurking but Villa hit back with Gary Gardner's free-kick flying inches off target. Gardner really should have broken the deadlock when somehow spurning a chance created by Johnson and Enda Stevens but United then responded with more pressure of their own.

Brady shot too high after good play by Jesse Lingard and Will Keane and Lingard then saw a shot deflect onto the top of the net following a Tunnicliffe lay-off. Tunnicliffe and King had further efforts while Josh Webb got his finish all

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