United set up Leeds tie in FA Youth Cup
Manchester United's youngsters put on a commanding performance to defeat Norwich City 2-0 in the FA Youth Cup fourth round at Carrow Road.
A bumper crowd of 3,421 produced a real cup-tie atmosphere and the supporters were not disappointed by a full-blooded affair.
Charlie McCann's penalty broke the deadlock in the early stages of the second half before skipper Teden Mengi headed home to effectively clinch our progress in the 75th minute. Leeds United will provide the opposition in the fifth round, with the Reds at home, at a venue to be confirmed.
After an open start to the game, Thomas Dickson-Peters mustered the first shot for the hosts, but it was straight at Ondrej Mastny.
The Reds responded with some fancy skills by Shola Shoretire on the edge of the box but the schoolboy was unable to get any power in his effort. The chances started to come for United, with Hannibal Mejbri doing well down the right to set up Dillon Hoogewerf, but the Dutchman skied his attempt. Hoogewerf nudged another Mejbri pass wide and Charlie Wellens tested keeper Samuel Blair with a deflected drive.
Hoogewerf turned provider to create an opening for Mark Helm, who was off target from inside the D, but the Netherlands youth striker then had the clearest opportunity, on 24 minutes. Helm's pass put him through but the two-goal marksman against Lincoln City in the previous round cut inside and got the finish all wrong with his left boot.
Hoogewerf was in the thick of things again when blocking Blair's clearance but the home keeper recovered to paw the ball away from danger. Five minutes before the break, Blair pulled off a reflex stop to thwart skipper Mengi, who was dominant at the other end of the field, as United had to settle for a goalless first half.
Neil Ryan's side continued to press from the restart with the lively Mejbri soon testing Blair again from outside of the box.
Seconds later, the breakthrough arrived. Helm's free-kick appeared to be goalbound but was handled by Andrew Omobamidele. The Canaries defender escaped a sending off, or any card, but, when the dust settled, McCann kept his composure to steer home the penalty. The young Reds celebrated in front of the noisiest section of the home crowd but Norwich retaliated with a spell of pressure.
Mengi made some outstanding blocks and clearances, while Lukasz Bejger hacked the ball away when Mastny spilled a cross by Jon Rowe. There was a stoppage when Rob Nizet's forceful challenge shoved Hoogewerf into the hoardings, and there was a nice show of sportsmanship between the pair after the incident despite the United man cutting his hand.
The Reds were a threat from corners all night and Will Fish almost forced one by Reece Devine over the line before Hoogewerf was unable to smuggle a shot home at Blair's near post, when he capitalised on a glorious piece of skill by Wellens. Another corner led to Mengi's volley cannoning off Nizet's head but, when that also resulted in a flag-kick, the captain rose to nod in a fine delivery by Wellens in the 75th minute.
Helm spotted Blair off his line and launched an audacious effort wide from just inside the Norwich half, and Mastny saved from Daniel Adshead, as United deservedly clinched a confident victory in East Anglia.
United: Mastny; Bejger, Mengi (c), Fish, Devine; McCann, Helm; Wellens (Svidersky 82), Mejbri (Forson 87), Shoretire; Hoogewerf (Sotona 76).
Subs not used: Mee, Hockenhull, Neville, Stanley.
Scorers: McCann 49 (pen), Mengi 75.
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