FA Youth Cup
Manchester United vs. Queens Park Rangers
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Date: Tuesday, 22 November 2015
Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Manchester United booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup, but needed Extra Time to beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Leigh Sports Village.
Callum Whelan’s second half goal looked like being enough, but substitute Ody Alfa scored with less than 15 minutes remaining on the clock to send the match to an extra 30 minutes.
The game didn’t require penalties to decide the outcome, but it was a penalty which won the contest, with Marcus Rashford converting from 12 yards and send Paul McGuinness’ side through.
An uneventful opening 25 minutes came to life, with Callum Gribbin’s ball into Rashford allowing the latter to tee up the onrushing Timothy Fosu-Mensah, but his curled effort fell just over the bar.
The ball sat up nicely for Romeo Akinola, whose effort was held by Ollie Byrne, with Marcin Brzozowski doing well to parry Gribbin’s free-kick to his right and out of danger at the other end.
Fosu-Mensah played a double one-two, firstly with Rashford then with Gribbin, before taking a touch to set, but his placed finish fell agonisingly wide of the goal.
Gianni Crichlow produced a low cross from the left which was fired over by Dan Darbyshire, as Fosu-Mensah saw a shot blocked from Rashford’s pull back.
In a replica save from Gribbin’s earlier free-kick, Brzozowski turned away Charlie Scott’s piledriver from range, diverting the ball away to his right and out of harm, as half-time arrived with the game goalless.
Gribbin and Rashford combined early in the second half, but the latter’s left footed effort fell wide.
A QPR break from a United corner saw Byrne hold Crichlow’s effort, as Gribbin’s toe from Tyrell Warren’s right-hand cross was also held.
Then came the goal, as Rashford’s free-kick flicked off the wall and behind for a corner, with Gribbin’s delivery met by Whelan, turning the ball home from close range.
A quiet spell then took place, but 12 minutes after falling behind, QPR equalised, as Josh Bowler’s cross took a ricochet off the United defence, allowing Alfa to tap the ball home.
Initially flagged as offside, that decision was overruled as the ball came off an opposition shirt.
Bowler saw a shot blocked, Fosu-Mensah fired over, as did Rashford from a free-kick, but full-time arrived sending the game into an extra 30 minutes.
A tame shot from Brandon Adams was held in the opening minute of Extra Time, but it was United’s number nine who did find the back of the net one minute later.
After latching onto Whelan’s through ball, Rashford rounded Brzozowski, but he was brought down by the Polish keeper, who was only booked for the challenge, but the striker sent him the wrong one by firing the ball into the back of the net.
Scott fired wide from a shot corner routine, as Rashford and Adams missed the target at either end, with half-time of Extra Time present with United leading.
The home side were then gifted an opportunity to finish the game, was Warren’s deflected cross saw Rashford head the ball onto the post, before Gribbin somehow blazed over the bar from four yards out.
Rashford himself then rounded Brzozowski again, this time without being fouled, but he fired over from an angle when he should have been more composed.
United held out for a narrow win, securing their face in round four of this year’s competition.
They will face Chelsea at home in such round, with a trip to take on Newcastle United or AFC Wimbledon awaiting the winner of that tie.
The Christmas break now lies before this crop of players, before a trip to take on rivals Liverpool on January 9 in the league.
Manchester United: Byrne; Warren, Williams, Tuanzebe, Hamilton; Scott, Fosu-Mensah; Whelan, Gribbin, Kenyon (Gomes 65); Rashford.
Subs: Dunne, Moutha-Sebtaoui, Gomes, Boonen, Tanner.
Manager: Paul McGuiness
QPR: Brzozowski; Springer-Downes, Matthews, Eales (Genovesi 74), Williams; Donnellan, Akinola (Alfa 74); Crichlow, Darbyshire (Klass 65), Bowler; Adams.
Subs: Folkes, Bowman, Klass, Alfa, Genovesi.
Manager: Paul Furlong