Hannibal on the ball for Manchester United against Liverpool in the FA Youth Cup at Leigh Sports Village

Dominant United bow out of the FA Youth Cup

Manchester United’s interest in the FA Youth Cup ended for another season when our Under-18s went down 1-0 to Liverpool at Leigh Sports Village Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

United went behind to a Tyler Morton goal, in the 17th minute, and proceeded to spend the rest of the game looking for the equaliser which never arrived.

Liverpool were reduced to ten men midway through the second half but despite Neil Ryan's men pilling on the pressure and stacking up the chances, the visitors' defence staged a fantastic rearguard action to book their place in the fifth round.
United captain Martin Svidersky competes for the ball.
United captain Martin Svidersky competes for the ball.
These clubs have faced each other in this competition numerous times over the years, with the most recent being ten years ago in the sixth round when United won en route to winning the trophy for a record tenth time.

As always, a clash against Liverpool at any level is guaranteed to be anticipated with relish and this was no different, particularly following the terrific league fixture between the teams earlier in the season at the Aon Training Complex which United won late on by the odd goal in seven.  

As the home side in this tie, our players were wearing their first choice strip of red shirts and white shorts whilst the Merseysiders were in a change kit of all turquoise. 

The sun was beaming down in Leigh as the game started at a frantic pace with both sides obviously well prepared and fired up for this latest episode in the story of these two great rivals.
Charlie McNeill had the ball in the Liverpool net as early as the fifth minute but the assistant referee’s flag had already been thrust into the air to signal offside.

Goalmouth activity was at a premium in those opening minutes but Liverpool began to look increasingly dangerous in United’s half with winger Mateusz Musialowski hitting a warning shot towards Radek Vitek’s goal. 

A few minutes later and the visitors made the breakthrough with a well- constructed move which culminated with Morton heading home from close range after receiving a fine pass from James Norris.

It cannot be argued that Liverpool’s goal was in keeping with the play up to that point but United’s response wasn’t long arriving as the search for a leveller unfolded.
Shola Shoretire tries to create an opening against Liverpool as team-mate Will Fish looks on.
Recent first-team debutant Shola Shoretire tries to create an opening as Will Fish looks on.
Hannibal started to operate as we know he can and one shot, in the 29th minute, looked to be on course for the target but Liverpool ‘keeper Harvey Davies did well to save at the foot of the post.

United's tails were up as the second half started and for a fleeting moment it appeared that an equaliser had been found but the referee, Oliver Nolan, waved play on when Alvaro Fernandez’s shot was cleared from the line. No VAR, of course, at this level!

At one stage, Hannibal took time off from trying to engineer United’s leveller to become an emergency physiotherapist, when he went to the aid of Liverpool’s Luca Stephenson who looked to be suffering from cramp.
Charlie McNeill fires a shot towards goal.
United striker Charlie McNeill fires a shot towards goal.
Liverpool’s hopes of clinging on to their slender lead received a major blow in the 68th minute, when defender Norris was red-carded after an overly strong challenge on substitute Marc Jurado.

United, who had been in charge of the proceedings if not the scoreline, looked to have been given an unlikely boost by that dismissal but no matter what the players attempted in the time that remained, the equaliser remained elusive.

MATCH DETAILS
 
United: Vitek; Hughes, Fish, Fernandez, Pye (Jurado 64) ; Sidersky, Savage (Hansen 71); Shoretire, McNeill (Emeran 80), Hannibal, Hugill.

Substitutes not used: Mee, Hoogewerf, Forson, Wellens.

Goal: Liverpool - Morton 17.

Sent off: Liverpool - Norris 68.

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