U18s: United v Stoke City

Saturday 18 March 2023 13:22

Neither Manchester United nor Stoke City could quite find the breakthrough in Saturday's U18 Premier League clash at Carrington.

It was a largely dominant display from Travis Binnion's young Reds, but the Potters held firm, with the efforts of Stoke goalkeeper Tommy Simkin in particular helping to ensure that the points were shared.

Our own shot-stopper, Elyh Harrison, would also make several important saves at the other end to keep the visitors at bay.

Victor Musa looks to bring the ball under control, with several Stoke players in pursuit.
It was a bright start for our young Reds, who surged forward from the off in a sign of real intent. Our first chance of the game fell to Ethan Williams out wide, with United’s no.11 afforded acres of space to run into. His powerful effort flew just wide of the mark, though. 

Ethan Wheatley had arguably the best chance of the first 45, and forced Simkin into an impressive save. After picking the ball up down the left, Wheatley cut inside, skipping past a defender before sending a curling effort towards the bottom corner, but Stoke’s shot-stopper got a strong glove to it. 

The visitors had a handful of spells in possession but failed to create anything that properly threatened Elyh Harrison’s goal. United, on the other hand, progressed forward to create even more goal-scoring opportunities in the lead-up to the half-time whistle. The second came from some excellent build-up play from Binnion's side, but Jayce Fitzgerald's long-range strike went wide of Simkin's goal. 
After a relatively quiet first half as far as clear-cut chances go, the second 45 had a feel of real openness to it from the start. Much like United did in the first 45, Stoke surged forward from the restart and had their first effort on Harrison’s goal, but Ali Hayder’s effort was gathered comfortably by our no.1. A few moments later, it was the turn of our young Reds to have an effort on goal. Lacey’s tricky footwork saw him win a free-kick on the edge of the area, but his resulting effort was saved excellently by Simkin.

In a half that was largely dominated by goalkeeping brilliance, Harrison made a flying stop to prevent Adam Watson’s half-volley from giving the visitors the lead just before the hour mark. Our shot-stopper had to be on his toes again as Stoke looked to counter, but Justin Iwobi sliced his effort into the side netting. 
Harrison made a handful of important saves for United in the second half.

One of our best chances to go ahead came from second-half substitute Gabriele Biancheri, whose pressure on the Stoke backline paid off, bringing the ball down to go one-on-one with Simkin, but the visiting keeper made a flying save to deny the youngster.

In the final minutes of the game, United earned a pair of corners and it was the second of the two which proved the most dangerous. A headed clearance fell into the path of Adam Berry, whose first-time volley was palmed away in a point-saving stop from Simkin. 

Despite pushing until the final whistle, our young Reds couldn’t quite force the breakthrough and the competitive clash ended goalless. 

Berry was denied a game-winning volley in the final minutes of the match.


United XI: Harrison; Ogunneye (Murray 45 (Biancheri 68)), Kingdon, Jackson, Nolan; Fitzgerald, Berry; Lacey, Williams; Musa, Wheatley (Scanlon 77). 

Unused substitutes: Murdock, Munro. 

Bookings: Berry 17; Scanlon 81.