U18s: Reds' rally at Newcastle proves in vain
Manchester United's five-match winning streak in the Academy League ended on Saturday afternoon with a dramatic 3-2 away defeat on Tyneside.
The home side were two goals to the good with fifteen minutes remaining but the Reds, with goals from Zidane Iqbal and Dillon Hoogewerf, clawed their way back into the contest, only to concede the fifth strike of the game in the last minute of normal time.
Despite that late blow, our boys are still top of the pile in the Under-18 Academy League North with a two-point lead over neighbours Manchester City, who won 4-0 just down the road at Sunderland.
The Reds enjoyed some early dominance but when the Magpies came through that spell unscathed, they increasingly expressed themselves and, in the 16th minute, they almost snatched the lead, just failing to capitalise on an inviting cross from the left wing.
As a result chances began to be more plentiful and, in the 38th minute, Newcastle’s recovery went up a notch when they opened the scoring. And it was a swift move which was inaugurated by full-back Joe Oliver’s darting run up field. Having made a good 50 yards, he released the ball forward to team-mate Joshua Scott who evaded Marc Jurado’s lunging challenge before hitting his shot past Reds 'keeper Johan Guadagno.
Ryan's boys were dealt another blow on the stroke of half-time when Noam Emeran was injured and helped from the field with what appeared to be a problem with his lower right leg. He wasn’t to return and during half-time he was treated by the medical team; Emeran was a spectator for the second half with an ice pack on his injured limb.
It quickly became apparent that coach Ryan had used the half-time break constructively because his words of wisdom saw his side put the Magpies’ goal under threat in the early moments of the half.
However, the home defence were composed and unruffled as their opponents sought the leveller and, in the 62nd minute, they swept up field to increase their lead through Kyle Crossley.
It didn’t look good for the visitors but there was more drama when Iqbal scored on the turn to reduce the arrears in the 75th minute after taking a pass from Hoogewerf.
The comeback was on and it gained in momentum six minutes later when Charlie McNeill’s far post centre found Hoogewerf who got above his Magpies marker to head home.
At that stage of the game, it seemed the writing was on the wall for the home side but just when the phrase 'football’s a funny old game' was coming to mind, Newcastle had the last laugh as James Huntley scored a late, late winner.
There was a considerable amount of time added on at the end but despite a valiant effort, the Reds couldn’t track down another goal and had to return home to Manchester empty-handed.
United: Guadagno; Jurado, Kingdon, Bennett, Emeran (Murray HT, Mainoo 73); Hansen, Savage; Hoogewerf, Forson, Garnacho (Iqbal 65); McNeill.
Substitutes not used: Vitek, Gore.
Goals: Newcastle - Scott 38, Crossley 62, Huntley 89 | United - Iqbal 75, Hoogewerf 81.