Tahith Chong battles with two Southampton Under-23s defenders

U23s: Southampton 1 United 1

Friday 24 August 2018 21:19

Manchester United's Under-23s remain unbeaten after a 1-1 draw with Southampton that ended the home side's 100 per cent start to the campaign.

All of the significant action at the Saints' Staplewood Campus came in the second half with DJ Buffonge's 56th-minute penalty for the Reds being cancelled out by Marcus Barnes 10 minutes later, before Callum Slattery was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Tahith Chong.

It took 20 minutes for the first real shot to arrive but Jake Hesketh's drive, after Angel Gomes was dispossessed just outside his own box, produced a routine save for United goalkeeper Matej Kovar. While Southampton caused a few problems from set-pieces, United relied on Buffonge's driving runs through the middle of the pitch to engender some kind of sense of danger.

Ro-Shaun Williams performed well at the heart of the defence.

Slattery lashed over the bar for the hosts before they wasted a golden chance three minutes prior to the half-time whistle. Yan Valery burst into the box and crossed for Michael Obafemi but the ball broke instead for Tyreke Johnson, who should have scored. Instead his shot, lacking power, was well saved by Kovar.

Barnes thumped another effort off target from distance and the Saints will feel they posed the greater questions in the opening 45 minutes.

There was a hope the second half would be more entertaining and an early effort by Buffonge suggested this would be the case, even if Southampton keeper Jack Rose made a comfortable save. Obafemi was guilty of a wayward header to Johnson's inviting cross from the left and it proved a costly miss for the home side as three minutes later, they conceded a penalty.

Buffonge cleverly kept the ball in close to the goalline and was chopped down by Valery to give the referee an easy decision to make. Despite the claims of Gomes and Tahith Chong, Buffonge wanted the responsibility to score the penalty and he duly obliged by sending Rose the wrong way.

DJ Buffonge puts United ahead from the penalty spot

Unfortunately, for the third successive game, the Reds conceded an equaliser after netting first. Obafemi's near-post drive was beaten away by Kovar and, from the corner, Barnes claimed a straightforward goal for Southampton, even if the ball appeared to go in off his shoulder.

Slattery was then dismissed for a wild tackle on Chong, receiving his second yellow card, and that provided a chance for Ricky Sbragia's side to go for the winner. However, Obafemi was handed another glorious opportunity for the Saints when latching onto George Tanner's misplaced header but Kovar managed to get a touch to the finish to send it over the top.

Will Smallbone's attempt also tested Kovar but the Reds dominated the closing stages without being unable to forge an opening.

Regan Poole makes a challenge and wins the ball.

United: Kovar; Tanner, Poole, R. Williams, O'Connor; Garner, Hamilton, Buffonge; Gomes, Bohui, Chong. Subs not used: Carney, Warren, Barlow, Sang. Whelan.


Sbragia's side are at Old Trafford for a home clash against Stoke City on Friday 31 August (19:00 BST kick-off).