D'Mani Mellor scores one of his three goals.

Under-18s edged out in nine-goal thriller

What a fantastic goal–fest of a game this was against Everton to conclude Manchester United Under-18s' Premier League season with nine goals scored and Neil Ryan’s lads fighting back from being three goals adrift at the break to almost grab a point.

D’Mani Mellor took the personal honours for United with a fine hat-trick, while Dion McGhee was also on target from the penalty spot to set up a tense finale.

The Aon Training Complex ground-staff were rendered temporarily redundant ahead of the match because, with rain teeming constantly from leaden skies, they were not called on to operate the sprinkler system that normally irrigates the playing surface.

There was no doubting the weather predictions on this occasion but the atrocious conditions did little to dampen the enthusiasm and urgency of both teams. It was obvious from the outset that this was going to a good contest to bring down the curtain on what has been a largely enjoyable campaign.

Aliou Traore makes a challenge in midfield.
Aliou Traore wins the ball in midfield for the young Reds.

Within moments of the start, both teams had been busy in attack and it came as little surprise when, in the ninth minute, United found the net after a great run down the right from Anthony Elanga paved the way for Mellor to claim the goal.

All looked set fair for the Reds but that was all to change over the next half an hour as the visitors turned the game completely on its head, scoring four goals without reply.

Top scorer Ellis Simms grabbed the equaliser, seven minutes after Mellor’s goal, and, soon afterwards, Tom Cannon swooped to put the Toffees in front.

United hadn’t been overrun but Everton certainly looked menacing when they moved into attack and that was confirmed when they scored two further goals inside the first half’s final five minutes. Jon Anderson added a third for the Merseysiders and, just seconds before the break, Tyler Onyango scored to send his side in at half-time with a three goal lead.

United’s chances, to say the least, looked distinctly gloomy but hopes were lifted midway through the second half when Mellor scored his second of the game after receiving a pass from Aliou Traore and finishing well.

Torrential showers kept dropping from the sky in torrents while the game continued to rain goals. Onyango stretched the advantage to three again with his second of the game with 17 minutes remaining on the clock and that should have been game over.

That goal appeared to ended any hopes United had of pulling this one out of the fire but, barely three minutes later, Mellor completed his hat-trick to give his side another lifeline. And, when McGhee converted from penalty spot after Brandon Williams had been fouled, the fightback was back on with eight minutes left.

Try as they might, United couldn’t find just one more goal needed to prevent Everton from moving above them into third place in the final table.

Brandon Williams drives forward.
Brandon Williams launches an attack down the left flank.

United: Thompson; Elanga (Stanley 87), Bernard, Mengi, Williams; Traore, Galbraith, McCann (Helm 70); McGhee, Mellor, Ramazani.

Substitutes not used: Mastny, Bejger, Neville.

Scorers: Mellor 9,68,76 McGhee 82 (pen) | Simms 16, Cannon 21, Anderson 41, Onyango 45,73

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