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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.