Premier Academy League
26 February 2011, Brockhall Village
Manchester United U18s ran out 3-0 winners against their Blackburn Rovers counterparts at Brockhall Village. Ravel Morrison netted his third and fourth goals of the campaign after Jesse Lingard had opened the visitors scoring.
Paul McGuinness made three changes from the team that demolished Manchester City in the mini Manchester derby. Paul Pogba, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Morrison replaced Charni Ekangamene, Tom Lawrence and Tyler Blackett allowing Larnell Cole and Lingard switch to their more familiar role on the right and left wing respectively.
United started positively enjoying the greater share of possession, but found difficult to breakdown an organised Blackburn midfield and defence. The deadlock was finally broken on 24 minutes following a magnificent team goal involving Michael Keane, Pogba and Sean McGinty. A cross field pass from Keane found fellow full back McGinty on the left. With two excellent first touch passes the defender and Pogba combined to play a one-two. From the left wing position McGinty delivered a cross into the penalty area, where Lingard delicately volleyed to register the first goal.
After taking the lead United continued to push forward in search of a second. Tunnicliffe dragged a shot from the edge of a penalty area wide while Morrison could only fire his effort straight at goalkeeper Matt Urwin following a counter attack from a Blackburn corner. Although United were the dominant team they were given a warning that 1-0 is a vulnerable lead when moments before half time Osayamen Osawe brought a fine full stretched finger tipped save from Sam Johnstone.
Blackburn improved and were probably the better team for the first twenty minutes of the second period, but they rarely posed an attacking threat. On 65 minutes Morrison spurred United into life with a driving run and shortly after he made the score line 2-0. Tunnicliffe surged forward (as only he knows best) and chipped an in-field pass for Gyliano Van Velzen to flick into the path of Lingard. From close range and at a tight angle the winger had his effort saved. From the resultant corner Lingard whipped in a cross into Blackburn’s penalty area. With his back to goal Pogba laid a perfectly weighted ball for Morrison to rifle home to score his first of the encounter.
During the final ten minutes Morrison began to dominate proceedings linking well with Tunnicliffe, Cole and Lingard as Blackburn relaxed their defensive duties. United enjoying the acres of space attacked the Blackburn goal at every occasion and it was only a matter of time before the home team conceded again. On 91 minutes Tunnicliffe received the ball on the half way line and for the umpteenth time ran at the heart of Blackburn’s defence. As the midfielder approached the penalty area he found Morrison with a simple pass. Ravel controlled the ball with his first touch and with his second unleashed a crisp powerful shot defeating Urwin to give the U18s a comfortable victory.
Team: Johnstone; Keane, Thorpe (Massacci, 56 mins), Fornasier, McGinty; Cole, Tunnicliffe, Pogba, Lingard (Ekangamene, 84 mins); Morrison, van Velzen (Lawrence, 74 mins).