Charlie McCann on the ball for Manchester United Under-23s against Everton

U23s: Hat-trick halts United's winning run

Monday 22 February 2021 20:55

Manchester United’s recent sequence of high-scoring wins was brought to a close on Merseyside as Everton’s Nathan Broadhead bagged a clinical hat-trick.

Over the ninety minutes, there was little to choose between the teams in terms of territorial advantage and possession, and Charlie McCann's excellent equaliser for the Reds ensured the score was level at half-time. However, it was the Toffees' number nine who eventually made the major difference on the night.

The defeat halted United’s gradual ascent up the Premier League 2 Division One table over the past few weeks as Everton’s victory saw them leapfrog over the Reds into fourth place.
Watch McCann's excellent equaliser for the Reds, in first-half injury time.
This fixture was staged at Southport FC’s Pure Stadium, which was originally known as Haig Avenue and was once the workplace of Eric Harrison, revered coach of United’s legendary ‘Class of 92’.

The Reds welcomed back Manchester lad Will Fish into the back four and Arnau Puigmal, the talented Spaniard, in midfield, but the latter’s return to the colours was sadly curtailed early in the game when he picked up a knock and was replaced by Dutch youngster Dillon Hoogewerf

It was a blow to Neil Wood’s side who were also without the injured Hannibal and Anthony Elanga, as well as Shola Shoretire whose recent performances at Academy level paved the way for him to make his first-team debut as a late substitute against Newcastle United at Old Trafford last night.  
Our Under-23 side have been involved in some truly thrilling, entertaining and high-scoring games this season but it was too much to ask for a repeat of the recent 6-3 triumph over Liverpool across Merseyside at Kirkby.

The Toffees started this game just two points behind United in the table, so a tight contest was a real prospect and that’s just how the first half unfolded.

Genuine chances were at a premium and the attackers of both teams were thwarted several times by the excellent form of the two goalkeepers.

McCann went close with a grass-cutter and a few minutes later Mark Helm could be excused for thinking that he was just about to celebrate but Everton’s number one Joao Virginia deprived him with a great save.    

Soon after it was the turn of United's Matej Kovar to take the goalkeeping plaudits after making an equally impressive block to deny Broadhead.
Ethan Galbraith is challenged by Everton's Einar Iversen.
McCann was again foiled by the Toffees’ custodian and then, in the 26th minute, Broadhead improved on his earlier effort with a cheeky chip, over the advancing Kovar, to give his side the advantage.

United looked to be heading into the break in arrears, but help arrived when, with the last kick of the first half, McCann rattled home his second Premier League 2 goal of the season to put his side on level terms.

So, all to play for in the second period and the Reds' hopes were raised when Hoogewerf’s goal-bound shot was pushed on to the angle of the frame by Virginia.

Then, in the space of seven minutes, Everton, or more accurately Broadhead, turned the contest into a mountaineering exercise for the Reds when he claimed two further goals to complete his hat-trick. The first was a low shot across Kovar and the second was a simple header after a corner from the right was flicked on.

Neil Wood brought on another prolific striker towards the end, giving Charlie McNeill the chance to step up a level alongside his fellow Under-18s attacker Hoogewerf. But the Toffees saw out the triumph, leaving the Reds in search of a return to winning ways on Saturday's long trip to Southampton.
Reds left-back Alvaro Fernandez surges forward.

United: Kovar; Neville, Fish, Devine, Fernandez; Galbraith, Svidersky; Helm, Puigmal (Hoogewerf 16), McCann; Hugill (McNeill 70).

Substitutes not used: Hughes, Mastny.

Goals: McCann 45+1 | Broadhead 26, 57, 64.