Late comeback earns United U23s a point at home
Two late goals saw Manchester United Under-23s grab a point from an excellent Premier League 2 Division One clash with Leicester City at Leigh Sports Village Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Foxes looked all set to travel back to the East Midlands with maximum points in the bag, but goals from D’Mani Mellor and Charlie McNeill in the closing stages ensured the spoils were shared.
Defender Paul McShane was welcomed back to our competitive fold in his capacity as a player-coach and striker Mellor was also back after long spell out through injury.
It wasn't the brightest of days to launch the new Premier League 2 Division One campaign with clouds threatening above the stadium, but that hadn’t prevented good numbers of supporters attending the game.
Almost on cue liquid weather teemed from the skies as the teams commenced proceedings. Both teams started with a spring in their step, the first real chance falling to United’s Mellor who was halted at the last moment as he set himself up to shoot.
Leicester were equally adventurous in attack and before ten minutes had elapsed they were presented with the opportunity to snatch the lead. Referee Aaron Jackson was perfectly placed and instantly pointed to the spot when Foxes’ Tawanda Maswanhise went down after being challenged by United’s Charlie Wellens.
Foxes’ Jake Wakeling stepped forward to take the kick and after taking a moment to compose himself he struck a hard low shot just inside the post to Matej Kovar’s right. It was perfectly directed but Kovar was already there, diving correctly to make a brilliant save.
Shola Shoretire very nearly put United on terms after twenty minutes with a shot which brought a gasp from the crowd as it zoomed past the post
Leicester moved into the lead just after the half-hour mark had been reached when Wakeling redeemed himself with well-struck finish.
United were fired with a renewed determination after the break and as a result they dominated the play and started to test the resolve of the visitors’ defence. Mellor and Shoretire were a constant threat in the Leicester area but no matter how they tried, the pressure failed to produce an equaliser.
Leicester weathered the storm and bagged their second goal with Kasey McAteer rifling home from Vontae Daley Campbell’s 68th-minute cross.
United hadn’t throw in the towel and seven minutes from the close they gave themselves hope when Mellor scored to claim his reward for an eye-catching display.
Added time was already reached when substitute McNeill salvaged a point for Neil Wood’s side with a cracking strike from Alvaro Fernandez's cross. With the seconds ticking away, McNeill was inches away from sneaking a winner, but shot narrowly wide.
UNITED: Kovar; Wellens, McShane, Hardley, Fernandez; Levitt, Svidersky (Savage 61); Forson (McNeill 67), Iqbal (Hoogewerf 61), Shoretire; Mellor.
Unused subs: Mejia, Mastny.
Goals: Mellor 83, McNeill 90+1 | Wakeling 31, McAteer 68