United Under-18s edged out by Wolves

Goals at either end of the game were enough for Wolverhampton Wanderers to take the points against Manchester United in the Premier League Under-18 North fixture at Compton.

Trailing the hosts from the eighth minute, the Reds improved after the break and with a modicum of luck may have gleaned something from the contest.

Both goalkeepers, United’s Ondrej Mastny and Joe Young for Wolves, were in eye-catching form and produced between them two quite miraculous saves and a penalty save.

In the end, goals from Jed Abbey and Lee Harkin gave the home side a 2-0 victory.

The Under-18s worked hard against Wolves on Saturday afternoon.
Wanderers’ Compton Training Centre is situated in a beautiful setting and on this occasion the game was staged on the first team’s pitch, which is lined by towering trees of various varieties.

Neil Ryan’s lads were looking to extend the excellent start to the campaign that had been made at all levels. Before this match United’s first team, Under-23s and Under-18s had collectively won all five matches played, scoring sixteen goals without conceding any in the process.

Wolves, wearing their distinctive old gold shirts, started the game in bright sunshine with fluffy white clouds drifting across the sky. Both teams were ‘up for it’ from the start and that produced a lively opening to what is traditionally an entertaining contest.

The home side were having the better of the territorial play and in the 8th minute they were awarded a free-kick some distance from the Reds’ goal near touchline.

Wolves’ right-back Jed Abbey was given sole possession of the ball and, after taking a moment to compose himself, he launched a lofted shot that deceived United ‘keeper Mastny and looped into the far top corner of the net.

Anthony Elanga went down in the Wolves’ area in the 15th minute but the referee, Simon Brown, would have none of it and signalled play to continue.

United produced probably the best move of the half, just seconds before the break, when Dillon Hoogewerf pivoted to get in a shot following Elanga’s darting run down the left.
Coach Ryan and his staff’s words of wisdom during the half-time break appeared to been taken on board by our youngsters, for they looked livelier and sharper as the second spell got under way.

They were enjoying better possession and also posing more questions for the Wolves’ defence to answer. That said, in the 56th minute Wolves had a golden chance to make it 2-0 when winger Chem Campbell found himself in a great scoring position, but he failed to take advantage.

Substitute Omari Forson, who had been on the field for barely two minutes, was inches away from putting United on terms after connecting with Elanga’s corner.

Almost immediately United had Mastny to thank for keeping the deficit down to one goal when he pulled off a miraculous save to stop Conor Carty’s goal-bound header.       

Then, at the other end, Wolves’ number one, Joe Young, produced a replica of Mastny’s save to keep out Connor Stanley’s terrific shot.
Neil Ryan's young side will learn a lot from the experience.

Remarkably, there was plenty of drama in the space of two minutes, close to the end of the game, when United had the chance to score after a penalty was awarded following a foul on Reece Devine.

Charlie McCann took the responsibility, but Young dived correctly to push the ball away.

Seconds later and Wolves wrapped up the points after substitute Lee Harkin claimed their second goal.  

MATCH DETAILS

United: Mastny; Bejger, Mengi, Hockenhull, Devine; Wellens (Forson 64), McCann, Helm; Stanley, Hoogewerf (Sotona 68), Elanga.

Substitutes not used: Neville, Mee, Fish.

Scorers: Wolves - Abbey 8, Harkin 90+1.

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