Manchester United Under-18 players celebrate Anthony Elanga's third goal against Blackburn Rovers at Aon Training Complex

Under-18s shine against Blackburn

Three goals inside the opening 19 minutes were sufficient to put Manchester United's Under-18s well on course for maximum points against Blackburn Rovers at the Aon Training Complex on Saturday morning.

Anthony Elanga crowned a very special performance with two of the goals and also provided the pass from which Dillon Hoogewerf made it 2-0.

Rovers made a commendable fightback during the remainder of the game but a consolation goal, scored by Sam Burns in the 84th minute, was their only reward.
Video
Anthony Elanga celebrates his deflected first goal against Blackburn Rovers Under-18s
Watch Elanga's deflected first goal against Blackburn.
Summer had returned to the ATC ahead of this game with beaming sunshine and almost clear blue skies. And the mercury felt as though it was getting higher by the minute. This was definitely an occasion to maintain good hydration and for the water bottles to be at the ready.

Neil Ryan made just one enforced change from last week’s line-up against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Jack Hayward training centre, bringing in Will Fish for Teden Mengi who was in action on Friday evening, making his debut for the Under-23s against Newcastle United at St James’ Park.

For this writer, it was disappointing to see Rovers line up for the kick-off in their change strip, instead of the instantly recognisable and traditional blue-and-white quartered shirts.
United’s youngsters were aiming to strike back following last weekend's 2-0 defeat on the road at Wolves, and if they were seeking an instant impact then that mission was comfortably achieved.

The Reds were certainly fired up for this fixture and made the breakthrough with one of our first attacks, going ahead in the seventh minute thanks to a clever finish from Elanga who curled his shot in from the corner of the area, giving Rovers 'keeper Andrew Eastham little chance of stopping it.

This was much better from United and it was Elanga who was leading the charge with what was turning into a masterclass on the left wing.

Ten minutes after his opener, he was terrorising the Rovers’ defence again to set up Dutch recruit Hoogewerf to tap home the second goal.
Video
Dillon Hoogewerf in action against Blackburn Rovers Under-18s
See how Hoogewerf made it 2-0 with his first goal for our Under-18s.
Just seventeen minutes gone and United had already put the Wolves’ result behind them. Two minutes after Hoogewerf's goal, Elanga was up to his tricks again with another darting run and another angled finish past Eastham.

Rovers could been expected to have caved in after conceding three times inside the opening twenty minutes but, credit to them, they re-grouped and for the next ten minutes showed a marked improvement.

As a result there were no further additions to the scoresheet before the break but the Reds went in with a comfortable three-goal lead.
Video
Anthony Elanga enjoys his second goal against Blackburn Under-18s
Our third clip shows Elanga's second goal of a great first half.
The visitors continued their resurgence as the second half got under way, but it was United who went closest to scoring when Mark Helm sent Charlie Wellens away with just Eastham to beat but the Rovers 'keeper came out on top in that duel.

A few minutes later and both physiotherapists were required to stretch their legs when Reds defender Ben Hockenhull and Eastham collided in Rovers’ area. Both required treatment but thankfully neither sustained a serious injury.

Wellens was given another golden opportunity having collected a fine pass from Hoogewerf but his shot went just the wrong side of the post.
 
Next up for United’s Under-18s is a week today against Liverpool at Kirkby.

MATCH DETAILS

United:
Mastny; Bejger (Neville 58), Fish, Hockenhull, Devine; McCann, Wellens, Helm; Stanley (Sotona 76), Hoogewerf, Elanga (Shoretire 73).

Substitutes not used:
Mee, Hardley.

Scorers:
Elanga 7, 19, Hoogewerf 17; Burns 84.

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