United’s Under-18s maintained an encouraging start to the campaign with a narrow and hard-earned Premier League Cup win over Newcastle United at the Aon Training Complex.
Neil Ryan made six changes to the side that won 4-3 at West Bromwich Albion seven days before, primarily to keep players fresh in readiness for Tuesday’s UEFA Youth League match against Valencia at Leigh Sports Village. Ethan Laird, Di’shon Bernard, Aliou Traore, Mason Greenwood and Charlie McCann were all missing from the team sheet, whilst Dylan Levitt was listed on the bench.
Both teams were in their normal kits, with Newcastle sporting their distinctive black-and-white striped shirts and both sides, unusually, wearing the same coloured shirts (black).
The visitors were also busy in the Reds' penalty area and were unlucky when one attack culminated with the ball striking the crossbar.
Elanga made the all-important breakthrough for the Reds in the 70th minute with a great solo effort, reminiscent of Mason Greenwood’s recent winner against Blackburn Rovers. The final execution was a deflected shot that looped over the goalkeeper to ultimately give the hosts the victory.
The very next minute brought a gilt-edged chance for the Reds to double the advantage when Puigmal was fouled by full-back George Rounstell.
Puigmal took the responsibility himself, but opposition goalkeeper Atto Huuthen dived in the correct direction to make the save and keep his side in the game. The Newcastle no.1 produced an excellent performance overall and it was only his heroics in the closing stages that prevented Ryan's Reds from adding to the scoreline.
United: Fojtíček; Neville (Denham 46 (Levitt 64)), Mengi, Bejger, Williams B.; Galbraith, Puigmal, McGhee (Helm 78); Elanga, Mellor, Stanley.
Substitutes not used: Thompson, Hockenhull.
Scorer: Elanga 70.