United Under-23s overcome Everton

Friday 24 September 2021 21:30

Manchester United’s Under-23s celebrated a second successive Premier League 2 Division One victory after defeating Everton 1-0 at Southport’s Pure Stadium on Friday evening.

Anthony Elanga bagged the vital goal in the third minute, but he finished the evening on the sidelinees after being sent off with team-mate Bjorn Hardley and Everton's Charlie Whitaker following an altercation in added time.

Both United and Everton had experienced a similar series of results during the opening few weeks of the season. The Reds started the game in the table’s eighth spot with five points from five outings whilst the Toffees had collected one point fewer from the same number of fixtures. And both sides had registered just one three-pointer before this evening’s clash which coincidentally arrived in their respective last home games. United’s 2-1 win came against Brighton & Hove Albion while Everton defeated Derby County 1-0.

So it certainly appeared to be a tight contest in prospect for the modest crowd that had braved a breezy and chilly evening to make their way along to Haig Avenue, the traditional name for this ground in the seaside town.

The supporters had barely settled into their chosen vantage point – seated or standing – when United claimed a very welcome early goal. Dillon Hoogewerf started the move on the right wing with a fine cross into the area which found Shola Shoretire, who rapidly picked out Elanga and the striker had the relatively easy task of tapping his side into the lead.
Elanga scores his 3rd-minute winner.
It was a great start to the match for United and the Reds maintained the upper hand during the opening exchanges without really looking capable of increasing the lead.

Everton, not surprisingly, gradually eased their way back into contention and began to take the game to United and give Matej Kovar the opportunity to show what he can do.

Twice, just before the half-hour mark, the Reds' goalkeeper was thrust into action to deal with on-target shots from first Luke Butterfield and, shortly afterwards, Stanley Mills.
Half-time was reached with United still holding the narrow lead but overall there had been very little to choose between the sides, although Shoretire went close to increasing the advantage just before the break.

As the second half wore on, it pretty well replicated the earlier forty-five minutes with the exception of Everton perhaps showing more adventure in United’s half. The Toffees went close on several occasions as they searched for an equaliser but they found Kovar to be a stubborn and resolute barrier.

Shortly before the close, there was a clash between Elanga and Everton’s Whitaker which resulted in a disturbance involving many players from both sides. The referee Lewis Smith consulted both his assistants and then proceeded to show the red card to United’s Elanga and Hardley along with Whitaker.
Safe hands! Matej Kovar thwarts an Everton attack.
It was an unfortunate ending to what had otherwise been an entertaining and keenly fought evening’s football.

Kovar; Wellens, Mengi (McShane 46), Hardley, Fernandez; Svidersky, Savage; Hoogewerf (Emeran 69), Shoretire, Iqbal (Hugill 69); Elanga.

Substitutes: Mee, Mainoo.

Scorer: Elanga 3.