Under-23s match report: Swansea 2 United 0
Premier League 2 | Liberty Stadium | Scorers: Biabi 7, Maric 23
Manchester United Reserves’ fight to stay in Premier League 2 Division 1 took a setback with this defeat at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Two first-half goals were sufficient to give Swansea City the victory and leave United with a good deal of work to do in the quest for survival.
The Arctic weather that had been sweeping the country for the past 48 hours was predicted to be at its worst in South Wales but, though there was snow in the Swansea area, the Liberty Stadium pitch was in perfect condition.
Ricky Sbragia’s lads went into the game boosted by their thrilling 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield recently.
Points are vital for the Under-23s in the bid to move away from the wrong end of the table but, sadly, that quest got off to a less-than-perfect start when, in the seventh minute, a lapse in the United defence allowed Botti Biabi to put the Swans into the lead.
This was also a vital game for Swansea as they continue their challenge for the league title. They started the game in fourth place and five points adrift of Leicester City at the top of the pile; three points from this fixture would be enough to leap-frog Liverpool into third.
And their cause was further improved after 23 minutes when Biabi, the scorer of the first goal, turned provider to set up Adnan Maric to double the home team’s advantage.
Barely 60 seconds later, United appealed for a penalty after Tahith Chong went down inside the box but the referee, Mr. Bromley, was having none of it and waved play on.
There were just moments to go before the half-time whistle when Reds defender Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was yellow-carded following a clumsy challenge just outside United’s penalty area.
United had left themselves a mountain to climb and, despite their best efforts, they just couldn’t find a way to get past the white-shirted Swans.
Callum Gribbin perhaps had the best chance of the second half but a last-ditch interception by Swansea’s Cian Harries proved decisive.
The Reserves will now stay in the south before moving on to London and Tuesday’s friendly fixture with Brentford at Griffin Park, kick-off 13:00 GMT.
The short break from the usual day-to-day schedule at the Aon Training Complex will certainly allow time for reflection and to ponder the three final fixtures of the campaign that will decide their immediate future.
United: O’Hara; Laird, Williams R-S., Borthwick-Jackson, Riley; Redmond, Hamilton; Chong, Gribbin, Kehinde (Bohui 59); Dearnley (Buffonge 67). Subs not used: Kovar, Warren, Whelan.
Pic credit: @SwansOfficial