Manchester Under-23 players celebrate a goal against Middlesbrough

Under-23s: Middlesbrough 0 Manchester United 2

Sunday 23 September 2018 15:51

Ricky Sbragia's lads stretched the unbeaten start to the campaign to six matches, and also moved to the top of the league table, with this ultimately comfortable win over Middlesbrough in the North East on Sunday afternoon.

Tahith Chong netted United’s first goal with a splendid free kick, just after the break, and Joshua Bohui sealed the win fifteen minutes from time with a predatory close-range finish.

The match was staged at Heritage Park, the home venue of Bishop Auckland. One of the great sides in amateur football history, the Bishops moved there in 2010 after being resident for more than a century at Kingsway, where they shared a ground with the local cricket team.
Angel Gomes posed Middlesbrough's defence plenty of problems.
United, wearing the change strip of all-blue to avoid a clash with Boro’s red and white, had the first genuine chance of the game, in the 6th minute, when Angel Gomes took a short pass from Bohui before hitting his shot straight at home ‘keeper Brad James.

There was very little to choose between the sides during the opening half-hour, but United did go close twice in a matter of minutes with Zachary Dearnley's shot and Regan Poole's header putting the hosts' defence under strain. At the other end, the Reds' no.1 Matĕj Kovář was far from redundant as Boro found ways of testing his agility and handling.

United finished the first half in the ascendancy, but were still looking for the elusive opening goal.
That was all to change three minutes after the restart when, having been fouled on the edge of the area, Chong took the free-kick himself and with a beautiful curling shot put the Reds into the lead.

Two minutes later and United’s advantage was almost doubled when James fumbled a speculative shot from Gomes.

Boro striker Stephen Walker very nearly found the leveller, in the 55th minute, after exchanging passes with substitute Stephen Wearne, but his well-struck drive flew inches over Kovář’s crossbar.
Tahith Chong fired United in front with a fantastic free kick in the 48th minute.
United continued to hold sway, but Boro were far from being overwhelmed and as the game reached its three-quarter mark they looked more than capable of getting themselves on level terms.

An unlikely pairing very nearly brought a second goal for the visitors, however, when Lee O’Connor crossed from the left to his fellow full-back Tyrell Warren, who was narrowly off target with a diving header.

Fifteen minutes from the end, Sbragia's players put daylight between themselves and Boro when Bohui grabbed goal number two. The striker started and finished the move that brought the goal, showing excellent determination to force the ball over the line after an initial one-two with Gomes had the home defence at sixes and sevens.
United are ahead of Aston Villa on goal difference at the top of the Premier League 2 Division 2 table.
The hosts were denied what looked like a certain penalty in the closing minutes when Kovář felled Tyrone O’Neill, but the referee was having none of it and booked the Boro player for simulation.

The decision not to award a spot-kick helped Kovář and company to see out the game with a clean sheet, another pleasing aspect for Sbragia and his team to take from this successful Sunday trip to Teesside.


United: Kovář; Warren, Poole, Williams R-S., O’Connor; Gomes, Garner (Whelan 86), Hamilton; Chong, Dearnley (Buffonge 73), Bohui (Gribbin 86).

Substitutes not used: Woolston, Barlow.

Scorers: Chong 48, Bohui 75.