Under-18s: United edge a thriller at Everton
Manchester United’s Under-18s bagged a second league win in four days with a hard-fought 3-2 triumph over Everton at Finch Farm on Tuesday evening.
United went into this game on Merseyside with confidence booming after claiming the team's biggest win of the campaign so far, 4-0, against Sunderland at the Academy of Light on Saturday. And although top spot in the Under-18 Premier League North may elude the young Reds this time around, Neil Ryan's side are still involved in the FA Youth Cup, which is always a prize cherished by our club.
Remarkably, United in eighth position had the same defensive record as the high-flying hosts - with 30 conceded in the fifteen games completed so far. However, the Blues had more in the goals-for column, hence their higher ranking in the division.
Reds coach Ryan rang the changes in making his team selection ahead of this game, with only four survivors from Saturday's victory on Wearside. Lukasz Bejger, Reece Devine, Deji Sotona and Anthony Elanga were the quartet of players charged with playing their second fixture in four days.
Sure enough, the home side, wearing their famous dark blue shirts, made several promising sorties up field in the opening moments. The aptly-named striker Tom Cannon could have broken the deadlock with a touch more accuracy and Lewis Dobbin also threatened to breach United's defence during that early flurry of activity.
However, it was the Reds who were the first to taste success in front of goal. The opener arrived shortly before the half-hour mark when Lukasz Bejger joined the attack with a sprint down the right before crossing on the run. The area was well populated with blue shirts but it was Sotona who reached the ball first to force it over the line.
There could have been more celebrations for United shortly after when an Elanga strike looked goalbound, but Everton ‘keeper Zan-Luk Leban did well to push the ball away.
Following the half-time break it was again the hosts who hit the ground running and within five minutes they had grabbed the leveller. Dobbin was the architect with a ball in from the right and Tyler Onyango completed the job.
Everton’s parity lasted for just nine minutes when they fell behind again to a terrific solo effort from Elanga who outpaced full-back Josh Hosie before squeezing the ball home from the tightest of angles. And United claimed some breathing space seven minutes later with a third goal scored from the penalty spot by Sotona after he had been felled by ‘keeper Leban.
United: Mastny; Bejger, Mengi, Hardley, Devine (Fish 45); Svidersky, Mejbri (McCann 79), Helm; Shoretire, Sotona, Elanga (Wellens 70).
Substitutes: Mee, Forson.
Goals: Everton - Onyango 50, Cannon 69 | United - Sotona 29, 66 pen, Elanga 59.
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.