U18s: United beat Liverpool in seven-goal thriller
Seven goals and non-stop, breathtakingly enjoyable action saw Manchester United beat Liverpool 4-3, a result which enabled the victors to leapfrog over the visitors to the summit of the Premier League Under-18 North table. table.
The first half had been good but the second forty-five could only be described as fantastic with Liverpool easing their way back into contention thanks to strikes from Layton Stewart and Tyler Morton.
Stewart then claimed his second goal to snatch the lead but the drama continued to the very end with Joe Hugill helping himself to a brace and ensuring his team took maximum points.
At any level it it’s one of the stand-out fixtures of the season and this meeting between the clubs’ under-18s had the added spice of being a top-of-the table clash. And it could have scarcely been closer with both Liverpool, the league leaders on goal difference, and United, in second place, on 21 points.
The Merseyside lads started with a spring in their step and it wasn’t long before James Balagizi was testing United ‘keeper Radek Vitek.
United were hardly sluggish and we were soon on the offensive and, in the 7th minute following a few moments of frantic action in the visitors’ goal area, Wellens popped up to clip the ball over the line.
Three minutes before half-time, a fine cross-field pass from Noam Emeran found McNeill, who collected the ball in his stride before thumping an unstoppable shot Liverpool ‘keeper Jakub Ojrzynski.
United were looking good at 2-0 but they couldn’t at any stage take the foot off the gas and that became apparent when, in the 60th minute, Stewart pulled his side back into the fray with a smart finish.
Six minutes further on and it was all square with Tyler Morgan grabbing the visitors’ second goal.
The visitors' confidence was now sky-high and United appeared to have a tough job to get something from the match.
But help was to come in the shape of former Sunderland striker Hugill whose rescue act began in the 79th minute when he was perfectly placed to snap up the rebound after Emeran's fierce shot was well saved and place it into the net.
Surely that was to be the end of the drama and the headline had already been written - 'United’s youngsters salvage a point in see-saw contest' - but a rethink was to be needed. Just six minutes after his first goal, Hugill was on the spot again to make the most of a scramble in the Liverpool area with a neat finish on the turn.
It was most certainly one of the games that you couldn’t take your eyes off for a moment, for fear of missing something. United pocketed the points but this richly entertaining clash was a credit to both clubs.
United: Vitek; Hughes (Jurado 90+1), Bennett, Hardley, Pye; Hansen, Svidersky; Wellens (Garnacho 86), McNeill (Savage 77), Emeran; Hugill.
Substitutes: Mee, Iqbal.
Goals: Wellens 7, McNeill 42, Hugill 79, 85 | Stewart 59, 74, Morton 65.