Anthony Elanga.

United youngsters win on penalties

Tuesday 29 September 2020 21:51

Manchester United move on to five points in Group B of the EFL trophy after a penalty shoot-out win against Rochdale, following a 0-0 draw.

More than half of Neil Wood's starting XI are eligible for the Under-18s, with summer arrival Joe Hugill leading the line at the tender age of 16.

So it should prove to be a valuable part of the team's education, and very useful after the win at Salford City in our previous group game. 

Ondrej Mastny saved Aaron Morley's penalty at the start of the second half and repeated the feat in the shoot-out, after the 0-0 draw. Charlie Wellens had his spot-kick saved by Jay Lynch but Mastny was the hero in sudden-death when denying Harrison Hopper to earn his team a bonus point.

Luca Ercolani shields the ball in the first half.

The Reds started in impressive fashion with Hugill smacking the outside of the post as early as the seventh minute, following fine work by Anthony Elanga down the left. Centre-forward Hugill hooked a similar effort off target as the hosts had to withstand some serious pressure.

Elanga, in electric form on the flank, fired over the top and keeper Jay Lynch blocked another near-post attempt by Hugill, from Hannibal's near-post cross.

Mastny had to be on his toes at the other end, tipping over Stephen Dooley's shot and kicking away a Fabio Tavares effort. Although Elanga's free-kick deflected wide and Luca Ercolani was unlucky on one occasion, Rochdale also created openings with Morley and Hopper unable to hit the target and Mastny denying Morley before the first 45 minutes was up.

The hosts came out for the second half with real vigour and looked set to go in front when they were awarded a penalty for Ercolani's foul on Hopper. Morley took on the chance but Mastny dived to his right to pull off a great save, and then was up quickly to repel the rebound from the home skipper.

Mastny also had to be alert to thwart Tavares but United replied with a well-struck free-kick by Hannibal that brought the best out of Lynch, who saved superbly.

As the tie reached its critical phase, former Red Oli Rathbone, on as a substitute, hit a post from a tight angle after a Jimmy Keohane shot was parried by Mastny but, again, the Reds responded, with Ercolani heading wide from Martin Svidersky's disguised centre. Hugill was then able to keep his finish down when being set up by Norwegian substitute Isak Hansen.

It could have gone either way in the end, with Alex Newby shooting just wide before Hugill did well to work an opening from a Hannibal pass, only for his effort to be blocked. So it went to penalties to decide who got the extra point, and Mastny came up trumps with his saves from Morley and Hopper.

Ondrej Mastny performed well in the United goal.


United: Mastny; Ercolani, Bernard, Fish, Pye (Hansen 69); Svidersky, McCann; Wellens, Hannibal, Elanga; Hugill

Substitutes not used: Carney, Neville, Stanley, Emeran.

PENALTIES (4-5 to United)

Rochdale: Newby, Tavares, Keohane, Rathbone. Missed: Morley, Hopper 

United: Hannibal, McCann, Hansen, Elanga, Hugill. Missed: Wellens.