United celebrate the first goal.

Pellistri off the mark as Under-23s seal win

Manchester United secured three points in Premier League 2 with a spirited performance in a 3-1 triumph over Southampton at Leigh Sports Village.

Anthony Elanga scored the only goal of the first half before the second period started in dramatic fashion. Facundo Pellistri stormed through to bag his first goal for the club, only for Michael Obafemi to steer in a quick response. Chances were passed up to add to the scoreline until Arnau Puigmal slid in a third in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

Elanga finds the net!Video

United’s second string went into this game on the back of what was something of a shock 2-0 defeat against West Ham United in our last outing at Rush Green.

Fine rain replaced the heavy snow which been falling earlier in the day but, the temperature had plummeted as the United and the Saints got the ball rolling. And it was the visitors who caught the eye in the opening minutes with a couple of rapid attacks that could have brought a goal had Paul Woolston not made a great diving save to block Dan N'Lundulu’s shot.

Five minutes later, it was United’s turn to put the Saints' goal under threat after Puigmal’s exquisite raking pass found Elanga one-on-one with keeper Kingsley Latham. Elanga looked favourite to win the duel but it was Latham, who came out on top. Southampton’s No.1 had to deal with a similar effort from Mark Helm and Woolston was also kept well occupied to keep the lively Saints forwards.

The visitors could arguably claim that they were edging it, but in the 34th minute, it was United who moved into the lead when a promising attack was ended abruptly with a foul on Alvaro Fernandez a few yards outside the area.

Elanga was entrusted with the free-kick, which would almost certainly found the target but for Southampton’s defensive wall. Fortune favoured the Swedish flyer and he made the most of the rebound with a low sizzler. And it could have been 2-0 shortly before the break but Latham made an astonishing point-blank save to thwart Will Fish.

The second spell had an explosive start with two goals arriving in the initial seven minutes. Shola Shoretire and Pellistri combined beautifully within 30 seconds of the restart with the latter racing up field to score with a precise finish, tucking home with his left foot.

It was hard-earned breathing space for United but it wasn’t to last as, in the 52nd minute, the dangerous Obafemi made no mistake from Tyreke Johnson’s cross from the left.

The chances started to pile up at both ends with perhaps the best falling to Pellistri who was a coat of paint away from his second of the night with a close-range shot which glanced agonisingly off the bar. This came after substitute Dillon Hoogewerf was unable to make the most of a really promising counter-attack.

Hoogewerf had another shot saved before Puigmal crowned an excellent performance when he put the game out of the Saints' reach, deep into added time. The Spaniard latched onto Shoretire's pass and, although his initial shot was parried by Latham, he pounced to slide in the rebound.

This was a victory that United ultimately deserved as we showed good character and, at times, some truly attractive football in getting back to winning ways in style.

Pellistri's maiden goalVideo

MATCH DETAILS

United: Woolston; Bejger (Devine 52), Fish, Mengi (c), Fernandez; Helm, McCann (Hoogewerf 71), Puigmal, Pellistri; Shoretire, Elanga.

Substitutes not used: Carney, Neville, Stanley.

Scorers: Elanga 39, Pellistri 46, Puigmal 90+4 | Obafemi 52

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