Youthful Under-18s learn from derby clash
Manchester United’s Under-18s lost 3-0 on the opening day of the season in a hard-fought mini-derby against Manchester City at Etihad Campus on Saturday afternoon.
It was something of an appropriate opener to the season between City, last season’s champions, and United who finished the Under-18 Premier Division North in second spot, just a single point behind the Blues. However, it was a very youthful line-up fielded by new coach Travis Binnion, containing six Under-16s.
If their pre-kick-off routines – a huddle and collective roar – were to be of any guide then both teams were fired up and primed for this season’s opener.
United were in our new red-and-white kit whilst City were wearing all sky blue.
The colour of the hosts’ shirts contrasted sharply with the leaden skies above the Etihad Campus as the game got under way.
And what a start it could have been for the Blues had the chance created in the first 20 seconds had been converted by Dire Mebude.
It was obvious from the outset that this was going to be no quarter asked and no quarter given, with both teams going flat out.
Louis Jackson could have given United the lead, in the 16th minute, but he was foiled by Blues ‘keeper Josh McNamara.
At the other end, Radek Vitek was also proving to be a major barrier to City’s attacking ambitions in the opening stages. But, in the 32nd minute, Vitek dominance of his area was breached when Luca Barrington shot City into the lead.
Three minutes later, the Blues were celebrating again when their captain Rico Lewis squeezed the ball home from a tight angle.
It hadn’t, by any means, been one-way traffic for United, with a touch more accuracy, could have claimed at least one goal before the break.
United’s luck in front of goal showed little improvement in the second half and, at times, the game became a little scrappy with one or two needless challenges catching the referee’s eye.
Twelve minutes from time and City wrapped up their first points of the campaign when substitute Joel Ndala made it 3-0.
United: Vitek; Jurado, Jackson, Pye, Murray (Fredricson 82); Mainoo, McAllister; Sharpe (Berry 77), Mather, Garnacho; Norkett (Ogunneye 59).
Substitutes not used: Wooster, Nolan.
Scorers: Barrington 32, Lewis 35, Ndala 78.