Charlie McNeill celebrates a goal against Manchester City with his Manchester United team-mates

United Under-18s win derby thriller

Saturday 13 February 2021 13:09

Manchester United Under-18s striker Charlie McNeill will long remember the day he scored four goals against his former club to help his side claim a 4-2 derby victory over Manchester City at the Aon Training Complex.

Prior to this fixture, the Blues had remained unbeaten all season with eight wins and three draws from the eleven games completed, but on this bitterly cold and blustery day at Carrington they suffered their first reverse at the hands, or should that be feet, of a player who was scoring goals for them last season.

Tai Sodje scored the Blues’ goals either side of half-time and with a slice of good fortune, he could have equalled McNeill’s haul.

After something of a cagey start between these age-old rivals, United picked up the pace to score two goals before twenty minutes had elapsed.
Watch McNeill head home the first of his four goals for United.
There had been very little to report during the opening exchanges but, in the 12th minute, that all changed when Charlie Savage’s beautifully struck corner kick into a crowded area was headed home by McNeill.

This goal ignited United’s confidence and Neil Ryan's side were increasingly in possession and putting the Blues’ defence under some strain.
In the 19th minute, the Reds' activity in City territory bore fruit again when McNeill claimed his second goal of the game. The opportunity arose after Noam Emeran had been upended by Kwaku Oduroh in the area. The spot-kick was given but after City ‘keeper Josh McNamara had blocked McNeill’s shot, the ball ran free and the former Blue followed up to double United’s lead.

Soon after, the visitors were left dismayed when United ‘keeper Radek Vitek had made two miraculous point-blank saves to keep out Oscar Bobb and Carlos Borges.
Watch McNeill's second goal to make it 2-0.
City eventually had the ball in the net but its scoring was shrouded by controversy. Play had been held up for an injury but before United could regroup following the restart, the Blues took a quick throw and Sodje guided the ball into the net.

The Reds' players were furious and City’s officials were none too happy either and in a remarkable show of true sportsmanship, the Blues’ bench instructed their team to allow United to go forward unchallenged to score. Referee Darren Strain blew his whistle and McNeill moved the ball upfield before tapping home.

Even if his career extends into his forties, McNeill be given an easier task to complete a hat-trick.
Watch the bizarre goals scored by Sodje and McNeill just before half-time.
The second half was, by comparison, a good deal less dramatic but it started well for the visitors who, just four minutes into the half, reduced the arrears with Sodje getting his second goal of the game after receiving Borges’s cross from the left.

The game was well and truly back in the melting pot as chances came and went at both ends, but was Sodje who was presented with the pick of the openings when twice he had Videk’s goal at his mercy but luck and accuracy escaped him. 
Two minutes into added time and United wrapped up the points and yes, you’ve guessed it, it was McNeill who was celebrating with his team-mates after turning his triple into a quadruple.
Watch McNeill wrap up the scoring in injury time, with his fourth goal.

United: Vitek; Jurado, Bennett, Hardley (Murray 46), Hughes; Svidersky, Savage; Wellens, Mainoo (Gore 64), Emeran; McNeill.

Substitutes not used: Guadagno, Mather, Oyedele.

Goals: McNeill 12, 19, 43, 90+2 | Sodje 41, 48.