Under-18s: United thwart rivals with late equaliser
Manchester United and Liverpool shared the spoils at Academy level on Saturday, as the passionate rivalry between the clubs produced a lively 1-1 draw.
Liverpool had led from the 30th minute following Di’Shon Bernard's own goal and both teams were reduced to ten men before Elanga stepped in.
A good number of devotees were present, despite the bitterly cold wind that was sweeping across the pitch, as the game started with United in the usual home colours whilst Liverpool were kitted out in all-purple.
The opening moments provided little or no evidence of the likely outcome with both teams failing to produce many genuine chances in front of goal. Then, on the half-hour, the purple-clad visitors struck the first blow thanks to full-back Jack Walls, whose shot took a deflection off Bernard before it entered James Thompson’s net.
United needed a reply and very nearly found one in the time that remained of the first half. Mason Greenwood was out of luck on a couple of occasions and Aliou Traore also did his best to test Ben Williams in the Liverpool goal.
Williams was a thorn in the hosts' side shortly after the break when he pulled off two remarkable saves from attempts by his namesake, United skipper Brandon Williams, and defender Teden Mengi, but hopes of a home-team equaliser were raised in the 63rd minute when Liverpool defender Niall Brockwell was sent off after felling D’Mani Mellor.
Not surprisingly, Ryan's Reds started to command possession and Greenwood, Mellor and James Garner all put the Liverpool goal under threat, albeit without success. With four minutes of normal time left, Bernard was red carded to put the teams’ personnel back on a level footing and it appeared that United’s chances of getting some reward from the game had gone.
However, help was at hand and two minutes from the end Elanga weaved his way into the Liverpool area before firing past Williams.
United: Thompson; Galbraith, Mengi, Bernard, Williams B.; Garner, Levitt (McCann 89), Traore; Ramazani (Mellor 56), Greenwood, Elanga.
Substitutes not used: Carney, Devine, McGhee.
Scorers: Liverpool - Bernard own goal 30 | United - Elanga 88.
Sent off: Liverpool - Brockwell | United - Bernard.