UNDER-21S

Barclays Premier Reserve League

Kirkby, Thursday 19 April

LIVERPOOL 2
(Ngoo 49, Eccleston 91)

MANCHESTER UNITED 2
(M.Keane 26, Lingard 41)

19/04/2012 15:52, Report by Adam Marshall
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Res: Liverpool 2 United 2

United drew 2-2 at Liverpool after a second-half fightback by the hosts following goals from Reserves Player of the Year nominees Michael Keane and Jesse Lingard.

The Reds, crowned champions on Monday, showed signs of tiredness towards the end and conceded an injury-time equaliser to Nathan Eccleston after Michael Ngoo pulled one back on 49 minutes.

There were few openings in a tight first half although former Reds trialist Ngoo caused a few problems with his awkward running style. Sam Johnstone wasn't extended in the opening 45 minutes, however, and the visitors were clinical when allowed a sniff of goal at the other end.

Lingard's low free-kick was not dealt with by the Liverpool defence and Michael Keane pounced from a couple of yards out to deflect the ball home for his fifth goal of the domestic campaign. Four minutes before the interval, the roles were reversed as Michael Keane launched a glorious through ball into the path of Lingard, who showed his usual composure to clip a confident finish past the advancing Peter Gulacsi.

The second period started in driving rain and Ngoo gave the hosts hope when United were caught napping at a throw-in and the leggy striker was able to tap in from close range. Buoyed by the breakthrough, the Merseysiders went close when Johnstone helped a Suso drive on its way over the bar and Ngoo dropped a header wide.

There was controversy when the Reds were denied a penalty when a free-kick by skipper Davide Petrucci appeared to strike a hand in the wall, possibly Conor Coady's, inside the area and the decision to play on left the game in the balance.

Subsitute striker Eccleston fired off target from a difficult angle and Suso shrugged off Ezekiel Fryers but curled wide after skipping past Ritchie De Laet.

Although Petrucci's free-kick drifted dangerously past the far post ahead of Michael Keane and Tom Thorpe, Joyce's side struggled to carve out too many openings and there was a real scare when Eccleston spurned a golden headed opportunity from a cross by Ngoo with only three minutes remaining. However, Eccleston got it right in the 91st minute by tucking a neat finish past Johnstone after Emmanuel Mendy latched onto a Suso pass and stretched to send over an inviting pull-back.

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