Shola Shoretire scores.

Under-23s triumph in entertaining encounter

Manchester United’s Under-23s celebrated our second consecutive win of the season in a seven-goal, rollercoaster of a game against Brighton and Hove Albion on the south coast.

The Reds raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time but two Brighton goals soon after the break turned it back into a contest, until Neil Wood's side stepped up a gear again to run out convincing victors.

It was pleasantly bright and sunny in Sussex as the game got under way at Brighton’s splendidly appointed Amex Elite Football Performance Centre.

And United, who were hoping to build on our first league win of the season, against Everton at Leigh Sports Village, mirrored the conditions with a lively and buccaneering start to the game which had the home defence under almost instant pressure.

Hannibal hits homeVideo

Hannibal got the ball rolling in the eighth minute, running onto a through ball by Arnau Puigmal to prod home his third goal of the season, with his right foot. It came after Ethan Galbraith and Anthony Elanga had dangerous shots in the previous attack.

Brighton’s forays into United’s territory were, it has to be said, quite rare but it was on one of those sporadic visits into Paul Woolston’s area – just three minutes after Hannibal’s opener – that midfielder Teddy Jenks had a good chance to level the scores but his connection with a lofted ball wasn’t sweet enough.

Had he put that away, it could have easily changed the course of the game but, from that point on, United embarked on a spell of football that was to put us in a very comfortable position by the break.

Shola Shoretire doubled the lead when pouncing for a simple finish after strike-partner Elanga robbed keeper Christian Walton.

Alvaro Fernandez and Mark Helm could have added to the tally before the third was the result of a wonderful team move. Hannibal and Elanga were involved in releasing raiding wing-back Puigmal and he provided a measured ball into the box for Helm to stroke home.

Brighton's Jenks had a goal disallowed for offside just before the break.

Jensen Weir, who played against United in the FA Youth Cup with Wigan Athletic last season, scored twice inside a minute to threaten the Reds' superiority. The first was a penalty, after a foul by Helm, before he tapped in at the far post soon afterwards.

This game certainly appeared to be having echoes of the away fixture earlier in the season at Arsenal, when United led convincingly only to have to settle for a 3-3 draw with the Gunners.

However, it took a moment of quality from Spanish wing-back Alvaro Fernandez to settle any nerves as he cut in from the left flank onto his right foot and buried an unstoppable long-range drive past Walton to extend the lead back to two goals.

Woolston made a couple of smart saves but there could be few complaints about the outcome, which was settled when another superb move involving Fernandez led to Puigmal exchanging passes with Hannibal before sliding an astute finish into the net for number five.

Arnau Puigmal scores.
Arnau Puigmal slides in number five for the rampant Reds.

MATCH DETAILS

United: Woolston; Ercolani (Neville 69), Devine, Fish; Puigmal, Galbraith (McCann 86), Hannibal, Helm (Hugill 64), Fernandez; Shoretire, Elanga.

Subs not used: Carney, McCann, Stanley.

Goals: Weir 58 (pen),59 | Hannibal 8, Shoretire 17, Helm 36, Fenandez 70, Puigmal 83. 

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