Binnion praises U21s' character after cup tie
Travis Binnion hailed the “character, belief and quality” of Manchester United’s Under-21s side last night after a penalty shootout victory over League Two club Stockport County.
The young Reds opened our latest EFL Trophy campaign with a two-point haul at Edgeley Park, triumphing on spot-kicks to earn a bonus point after conceding a gutting late equaliser to senior opposition.
Joe Hugill gave United the lead when he tapped home the rebound from his saved penalty after 64 minutes. In a night defined by spot-kicks, County levelled with their own after a remarkable 13 minutes of added time. A shootout thus followed.
EFL Trophy highlights: Stockport v United U21s
Catch up with the action from Edgeley Park, where our Under-21s' EFL Trophy tie ended in a penalty shootout...
Charlie McNeill, Shola Shoretire, James Nolan, Ethan Williams and finally Ethan Wheatley all converted, with goalkeeper Elyh Harrison’s denial of Ryan Rydel proving the key in a 5-3 victory.
Binnion expressed his admiration at the way our players maintained their composure and belief after a disheartening end to the match.
“To concede really late, concede a penalty, and then to go and win a penalty shoot-out shows great character and belief,” said Binnion, Under-21s lead coach.
“And we showed quality with the penalties, too. To win in front of our fans and get the extra point is the least we deserve tonight.”
The EFL Trophy offers unique opportunities for our Under-21s, and that came in several forms on Tuesday night: playing in front of a 1,400-strong travelling support, competing over 110 minutes in total, facing a powerful late onslaught from senior opponents, and experiencing the challenge of a shootout.
“Over the course of the night, we deserved to win the game,” Binnion reflected.
“The first half was very even. When Stockport changed shape, we didn’t deal with it very well. But in the second half, I thought we were a far better side, although we still need to do more at the top end of the pitch.
“If we killed the game off when Stockport were down to 10 men, it would be a really good night. We played about 110 minutes tonight and at 1-0, there’s always a chance when they’re loading the box up which is something we don’t experience very often.
“We needed the second goal and I think we deserved a second goal with our play. But overall, the character they showed was great.”
United have two games remaining in the EFL Trophy group stages, away at Bolton Wanderers on 26 September (date subject to change) and Salford City on 31 October.
The young Reds are back in league action this Saturday, taking on Stoke City at Leigh Sports Village. Kick-off is at 12:00 BST and entry is free for all fans.