Manchester United Under-18s celebrate a goal against Everton

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.

Deji Sotona claimed two of the goals, the second from the penalty spot, and Anthony Elanga got the other with a great individual strike.

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.
Video
Deji Sotona celebrates after scoring the first goal for Manchester United's Under-18s against Everton
Watch how Reds striker Sotona scored the first goal at Finch Farm.
Everton have enjoyed a good season at this level and entered this match in third place, level on points with neighbours Liverpool, who are in second spot courtesy of a slightly better goal difference.

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.
It didn’t need a clairvoyant or a crystal ball to predict that this test against Everton would be a tad more difficult to that encountered at the weekend. The Toffees' youth teams were always a tough proposition at their old Bellefield training centre and nothing has changed on that front since their move to Finch Farm.

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.
Hannibal Mejbri on the ball against Everton Under-18s
Hannibal Mejbri looks to create another opening for United.

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.

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Anthony Elanga scores United's second goal against Everton Under-18s
Watch Elanga's powerful solo run and clinical finish for United's second goal.
That quick double blast had put the Reds well in charge but with slightly over twenty minutes to go, Cannon found a way past Mastny to revive Everton's hopes. However, that was where the scoring ended and Ryan's side ultimately returned to Manchester with three more well-earned points on the board.

MATCH DETAILS

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.

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