Hannibal Mejbri in action for United's Under-18s against Everton

Under-18s show spirit in Everton clash

Neil Ryan’s Manchester United team were involved in a tight and keenly-fought match against Everton on Saturday, equalising twice before being edged out 3-2 at the Aon Training Complex.

The result means Neil Ryan's Reds relinquished an unbeaten home start to the Premier League Under-18 North campaign but the excellent fighting spirit will have impressed the members of our first-team squad, who watched the latter stages after training ahead of Sunday's game at West Ham.

Charlie Wellens and captain Charlie McCann, from the penalty spot, both scored equalisers in the first half but unfortunately United couldn't find another goal to salvage a point after Everton went ahead for a third time.
Video
Action from United Under-18s v Everton Under-18s
Watch the first of United's two equalisers against Everton.
United’s youngsters entered this game focused on erasing the memory of the previous weekend’s outing, when we were on the wrong end of a 5-1 scoreline at Derby. However, that result didn’t entirely reflect the level of the Reds' input on the day and just two wins from the opening five fixtures again didn’t really paint the full picture of the season's opening weeks.
  
Unlucky to lose in the seven-goal thriller at Liverpool, our Under-18s could also garner encouragement, if indeed that was required, from two comfortable home victories over Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers.
 
The Aon Training Complex was, without fear of contradiction, the perfect setting with the pitch beautifully manicured with alternate broad stripes running from end-to-end and the whole scene illuminated by bright sunshine beaming from cloudless skies.

The Reds looked positive and confident, starting the game on the front foot. Chances at either end were at a premium during the opening spell but that all changed in the 16th minute when Everton, who defeated Sunderland 10-0 at Finch Farm in their previous fixture, took the lead with a fine headed goal from Reece Welch.

It wasn’t altogether against the flow of play because the visitors had already started to ease their way into the contest. As the half unfolded, the balance of territorial advantage was shared equitably and it came as no surprise when Wellens fired home United's first leveller after latching on to Hannibal Mejbri's right-wing cross.
 
Reece Welch heads in Everton's first goal against United Under-18s
Reece Welch heads in Everton's opener from a corner.
The dearth of goals in the early stages was becoming a distant memory, for within two minutes Everton had scored through Tommy Cannon, their leading marksman, to restore the lead.

United were playing catch-up again and just before the break we were back on level terms thanks to McCann’s accuracy from the penalty spot after Dillon Hoogewerf had been fouled.

The contest was all-square at the interval, 2-2, but that was soon to change yet again, just three minutes after the teams reconvened. Cannon scored his second goal of the game to give the visitors the advantage for the third time.
United and Everton players battle for possession
The game was keenly contested on a perfect pitch at the Aon Training Complex.
Falling behind again could easily have knocked the stuffing out of United’s players but this latest setback appeared to be a source of inspiration and the young Reds proceeded to go in search of a third equaliser with renewed determination.

Unfortunately, that goal wasn’t to be forthcoming but that wasn’t down to shortage of effort and application. Both Mark Helm and Hoogewerf went agonisingly close, but Everton battled well at the back to preserve their lead.

MATCH DETAILS 

United: Mastny; Neville, Hockenhull (Hughes 60), Fish, Hardley; McCann, Mejbri, Helm (Forson 69); Wellens, Hoogewerf, Shoretire (Sotona H-T).

Substitutes not used: Mee, Mejia.

Scorers: United - Wellens 32, McCann pen. 43 | Everton - Welch 16, Cannon 35, 48.

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