Warren Joyce’s side resumed their pre-season build-up, following last month’s two-match excursion to the Republic of Ireland, with this useful run-out against Market Drayton Town at Greenfields.
There had been heavy rain in the area during late afternoon, but that gave way to more favourable weather just before kick-off and the conditions were near perfect as the game began. United started brightly and should have gone ahead as early as the second minute when Joshua King was clear through on goal, but keeper Matty Cohan dived bravely to take the ball from the striker’s feet.
The Reds eventually moved into the lead, in the 14th minute, when Ryan Tunnicliffe forced the ball home despite Cohan’s close attention. The game then entered a spell where United looked capable of scoring each time they attacked, but wayward shooting and good goalkeeping kept the tally under control.
Bebe, who had spurned three or four decent-looking chances earlier in the half, finally found the net with a firm header, from King’s right wing cross, in the 38th minute. Skipper Davide Petrucci made it 3-0, just before the half-time whistle, with a low drive which deflected off a Market Drayton defender before finding the net.
Reds goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was called into action several times. The home side tested him with many long-range efforts and was equal to their best attempts, most notably a spectacular diving save from Kyle Blake’s terrific free-kick just before the interval. Three minutes into the second half and Jesse Lingard drew warm and genuine applause from the home supporters with beautifully-struck shot which flew into the roof of the net.
Craig Ryan gave the Market Drayton supporters a moment to cherish, in the 56th minute, when he fired home confidently from the penalty spot to give the Shropshire club a well-deserved mention on the scoresheet . Further goals from Lingard (60 minutes), following a Petrucci pass, and Federico Macheda 10 minutes later, with a shot on the turn, for United, and Tom Rogers (76) for Market Drayton, completed the scoring in what was a fine evening’s entertainment from this hastily-arranged friendly