United won the Manchester Senior Cup for the 30th time in the club's history on Monday night as the Reds' reserve team - bolstered by Darren Fletcher, Anders Lindegaard and Rafael - turned over Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford.
This was the Reds' seventh win out of seven games in this season's competition - the group-stage successes including a 4-0 victory over the same opponents last September. Nick Ajose - who netted a 16-minute hat-trick in that earlier meeting - also struck first in the final, five minutes before the break, and was swiftly followed onto the scoresheet by Reece Brown. And although Bolton's Tom Eaves pulled a goal back in the 80th minute, Italian substitute Davide Petrucci sealed the silverware for United with a penalty moments later.
United’s best chance inside the first 10 minutes was carved out by Gabriel Obertan cutting the ball back from the right-hand byline, only for Ajose to misfire in the middle. Ajose was also off-target when Norwood played on after Obertan's penalty shout was ignored. The Reds' number nine met the midfielder's fine cross at the far post but nodded the ball onto the roof of Lainton's net.
Bolton spurned an opportunity to capitalise on some early counter-attacks when centre-back Ben Dennis planted a free header wide from Josh Vela’s left-wing corner. Lindegaard was called into his first real action moments later, diving right to clutch a powerful drive from Tom Eaves at the spearhead of Wanderers’ attack.
Brady tried his luck from both flanks as the Reds began to dominate, his first strike from the left spinning off a defender for a corner while his right-wing shot fizzed wide of the far post. Width was also key to Bolton’s attack with Obadeyi’s strength and pace on the left giving Rafael a rigorous work-out. At one point the Wanderers winger blazed a trail along the left-hand byline, with the Brazilian full-back in his wake, but Obadeyi’s final ball left his coach exasperated – perhaps because nobody in white could supply the merest touch required to put Bolton in front.
The visitors’ frustration was compounded moments later when United took the lead instead, Ajose