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

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Premier League