U23s report: Huddersfield Town 3 United 3

Manchester United’s Under-23s shared six goals with Huddersfield Town’s first team in an entertaining pre-season friendly at The John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

United led by two goals scored by Mark Helm and Anthony Elanga early in the first half, but by half-time the home side had clawed their way back thanks to strikes from Alex Pritchard and Juninho Bacuna.

After the break, goals from Huddersfield’s Josh Korona and United’s Hannibal were sufficient to give this match an ending of which left both sides content with the outcome. 

Top 10 Under-23s goals of 2019/20Video

Both teams were rigged out in the latest versions of their respective club strips. The Terriers wore their traditional blue and white stripes, while United were, of course, in the famous red shirts with, on this occasion, black shorts.

As feels the norm these days, there was no fans inside the stadium as the game got under way and it was the home side that made the brighter opening to the proceedings.

In just the second minute it was only a terrific save by Reds goalkeeper Jacob Carney that prevented the recently-signed striker Danny Ward from claiming an early goal. And Carney proved he was alert again just a few minutes later to stop a long-range stinger from Bacuna.

Town were certainly looking the more likely side to put the first goal of the game on the scoreboard but, in the 15th minute, United were to sneak into the lead after Mark Helm had capitalised on an uncharacteristic error by Huddersfield’s hugely experienced goalkeeper Ben Hamer.

If United’s first goal was a trifle fortuitous then the second, which arrived three minutes later, was a peach. Defender Di’Shon Bernard set the up the chance with a brilliant through-ball, which Elanga collected before finding the net with an arrowing shot, after shaking off the attention of two defenders.
It was a remarkable turnaround but credit to The Terriers, for they weren’t about dwell on United’s rapid two-goals, which appeared to have transformed the complexion of the match.

Barely four minutes later and the home team were back in contention after Alex Pritchard had found a way past Carney, and shortly afterwards defender Harry Toffolo rattled United’s crossbar with a nicely-struck free-kick.

Huddersfield had noticeably recovered from the shock of going behind and, in the 33rd minute, they were level thanks to Bacuna.

The contest continued in a similar vein following the restart, with it almost impossible to predict what the eventual outcome of this game would be.

Then, on the hour, Huddersfield went into the lead for the first time courtesy of an eye-catching strike from Koroma.
 
There could be no denying that it had been a spirited comeback from the Championship side, but United weren’t about to fold and 13 minutes later some great work by substitute Arnau Puigmal found Hannibal, and an excellent touch of footwork saw him make enough space to squeeze the ball over the line.

Both teams had chances to claim the winner in the closing stages, but nobody could argue that the 3-3 draw was the just and fair result.
  
United: Carney; Laird, Mengi, Bernard, Devine (Bejger 78); Galbraith, Levitt, Garner; Helm (Puigmal 58), Hannibal, Elanga
Substitutes: Neville, Mastny, Mee, Taylor, Fish, McCann, Haygarth, Stanley, Ercolani, 

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