Premier Academy League
19 February 2011, Carrington
Manchester United U18s returned to winning ways with a 6-1 thrashing over local rivals Manchester City. Larnell Cole was the hero as the winger come midfielder netted a quite magnificent hat trick. Further goals from Sean McGinty, Jesse Lingard and Tom Lawrence rounded off an excellent victory for Paul McGuinness’s team.
The contest started brightly with City enjoying the greater share of play early on. Perhaps against the run of play United took the lead in a lucky manner. McGinty picked up possession on the left and played a one-two with Tyler Blackett (selected in an unaccustomed left wing role). The left back’s intention was to cross for auxiliary centre forward Gyliano Van Velzen. The young Dutchman failed to make contact with the cross fooling in the process City’s goalkeeper James Wood as the ball sneaked into the corner of the goal. The goal was McGinty’s fifth goal of the season.
On 30 minutes the game flowed for a period with both teams enjoying attempts on goal. Tom Lawrence perhaps over-elaborated when he was allowed an opportunity inside City’s penalty area, the visitors then quickly countered with Joan Angel Román bringing a fine save from Sam Johnstone and moments later Lingard illustrated his technical ability by volleying a Blackett cross narrowly wide. On 36 minutes Lingard was not to be denied. Van Velzen’s glancing header from a Alberto Massacci cross smacked against the crossbar. Lingard following up had his diving header smartly saved, but he regained his feet quickly and his swivel shot passed Wood and two defenders tracking back. The action continued. Adam Drury missed a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit when he found himself unmarked from six yards out from goal. The midfielder could only find the side netting with his header. Moments before half time Van Velzen earned a corner after his shot was saved. From the corner Meppen-Walters cleared at the near post and from the clearance Cole volleyed home via a fortunate deflection off Paul Clowes.
United started the second half on the front foot and hungry for further goals. Lingard came close, but was excellently denied by a goal line clearance from Clowes. On 52 minutes United’s early pressure paid off when Cole netted his second as spectators witnessed the best goal of the game. With quick feet and a body faint Cole skipped past Evans and Frédéric Veseli with ease. Inside the penalty area the midfielder fired his shot across Wood to complete an outstanding individual goal. City responded in a positive manner to setback with a couple of chances of their own. Unlike the first half Drury forced quick reactions save from Johnstone and soon later leading goalscorer Harry Bunn hit a long range effort wide. The spirited interlude was soon to end with United grabbing their fifth goal. The influential Lingard slipped a pass to Lawrence, who had his first effect saved, but the Welsh youngster scuffed in the rebound to net his second of the season.
United were firmly in control at this point and were quite easily retaining possession, so City’s consolation goal came somewhat of a surprise. Román was at the heart of the move. The Spanish youngster cut inside from the left wing and with several would be tacklers surrounding him he laid a simple pass to Bradley Robinson who scored his fourth goal of the season. United were not going to allow City to have the final word. With the visitors pushing forward during the final stages a crunching tackle from Massacci regained possession. The Italian played a simple ball to substitute Michael Keane. The replacement then fed an inch perfect pass between central defender and full back into the path of Cole, where inside the penalty area he confidently chipped Wood from close range.
The scoreline perhaps flattered United after an even contest during the first period. Cole’s second and third goals were of the highest order; real class. Cole, Massacci, McGinty, v Velzen, Ekangamene and Lingard were all very impressive.
Team: Johnstone; Massacci, Thorpe, Fornasier, McGinty; Lawrence, Ekangamene, Cole, Blackett (Barmby, 60 mins); Lingard, van Velzen (M Keane, 78 mins)