Report: Under-23s show team spirit in defeat
Manchester United’s Under-23s’ unbeaten start to the Premier League 2 campaign came to an end after losing 4-1 against Aston Villa on an extremely wet evening at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium.
To say it was a damp evening in this little corner of the West Midlands is the most grievous use of understatement because heavy rain started well before the game began and showed little signs of easing throughout the evening.
Two minutes later and the home team had better luck when American-born Indiana Vassilev succeeded where Ramsey had failed with fine curling effort, which found the net just inside Matej Kovar’s left post.
Up until that point United had been comparatively quiet in front of goal but hopes were raised a few minutes after Villa’s opener when Anthony Elanga hit an angled grass-cutter that was inches wide of the intended target.
The Reds enjoyed a little more of the upfield action after Elanga’s near miss, but encouragement which that had produced was soon brought to a shuddering halt.
Referee Samuel Allison had no alternative but to send the United defender to the dressing room, as well as awarding Villa a spot-kick, which Wright comfortably tucked away. Neil Wood reacted quickly to Bernard’s dismissal by sending on youngster Will Fish with Dion McGhee being sacrificed.
The Reds certainly looked up against it and our plight was to be considerably worsened in the minutes that remained of the first half with the impressive Ramsey helping himself to two goals.
Villa’s supporters in the 468 crowd must have enjoyed their half-time refreshments after checking the score on the stadium’s new illuminated display.
It was a long way back if United were to gain anything from that position, but hope springs eternal and midway through second half Traore gave something for Reds in the crowd when he struck an absolute sizzler from at least 25 yards.
Moments later, the Reds looked set to beat Villa ‘keeper Orjan Nyland again but Elanga’s shot found the wrong side of the side-netting.
Admittedly, it was a tall order for United to pull this game out of the fire but we could take some consolation from a second half performance which, with a touch of luck, could have seen the Reds striving for a point in the closing stages.
Aston Villa U23s 4 (Vassilev, Wright pen., Ramsey 37, 420
Manchester United U23s 1 (Traore 69)
United: Kovar; Puigmal, Mengi, Bernard, Devine; Traore, Galbraith, McCann (Mejbri 60; McGhee (Fish 35), Ramazani (Hoogewerf 75), Elanga
Substitutes not used: Woolston, Wellens
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.