Barclays Premier League Under-18s
Manchester United vs. Manchester City
Venue: J. Davidson Stadium
Date: Saturday, 11 April 2015
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
The red half of Manchester came out on top in the ‘mini-derby’ at the J. Davidson Stadium.
United’s 1-0 win over their rivals at U18 level came courtesy of a sublimely-struck free-kick from Callum Gribbin, just over 12 minutes after the break.
The visitors started brightly and Marcus Woods floated a ball over the top for Paolo Fernandes, but he failed to keep the ball under his control, as the ball fell calmly into the hands of George Dorrington.
Another ball over the top, this time at the other end from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, played in Marcus Rashford, but as he tried to round Charlie Albinson in the City goal, the keeper kept his composure and lunged on the ball to prevent Rashford from getting his shot away.
Another scintillating run from Rashford ended with his pull back being cleared before Ethan Hamilton could meet the ball, before another cross, this time from Axel Tuanzebe from the right-hand side, was cleared only as far as Jordan Thompson, but his shot was held with ease.
Woods saw a speculative dink from distance held before Gribbin saw a shot, also from distance, held at the other end a minute later.
Half of Altrincham’s home ground then thought Rashford had given United the lead just before half-time, but as he raced through to a one-on-one situation with Albinson, his shot hit the leg of the goalkeeper and the ball fell wide of the post.
Into the second half and a swift counter-attack from the home side saw Rashford slide in Hamilton, and the latter won a corner off of a City defender. The resulting corner was taken by Gribbin, and Rashford’s flick-on was met first time by Borthwick-Jackson, but in typical left-back fashion, he fired over the bar.
Isaac Buckley saw a header fall just wide of the post for the visitors before they fell behind just before the hour mark.
Charlie Oliver halted Gribbin’s mazy run on the edge of the penalty area, leading to a free-kick being awarded, and it was Gribbin who took it, and the ball flew into the top corner to give the hosts the lead.
The momentum was then clearly with United, as Borthwick-Jackson’s screamer from range just two minutes after the goal crashed against the post.
Yet another solo run from Rashford led to a corner in which Gribbin floated the ball in from the left, and it was cleared to Thompson, who volleyed over the bar.
Javairo Dilrosun went down under the challenge from Timothy Fosu-Mensah, but the referee deemed that a dive had been taken and no penalty was awarded.
Dilrosun was involved again moments later, but his speculative shot from range fell wide without troubling.
Substitute Aaron Nemane’s athletic run and shot won a corner, but the cleared corner left another substitute Sam Tattum flat-footed as Ruairi Croskery nipped in and bore down on goal, but his left-footed effort fell wide of the post.
Dilrosun saw a free-kick in stoppage time hit the top of the net, but United held on for a derby-day victory against their fierce rivals, in a win that sees Paul McGuinness ‘ side move to seven points.
Just three goals have been scored in the Play-off Tier from United, but just one conceded has seen those seven points come from just three games.
Eight wins from the last 10 home games and unbeaten in those 10, leaves United in a good position to at least challenge for the title.
Away trips to Everton and Tottenham Hotspur follow, with Chelsea their last home game, before another trip, this time to Middlesbrough, concluding the season for the U18s.
Manchester United: Dorrington; Scott, Tuanzebe, Fosu-Mensah, Borthwick-Jackson; Redmond, Thompson; Hamilton, Gribbin, Croskery; Rashford.
Subs: Whelan, Byrne, Gomes, Makela, Dunne.
Manager: Paul McGuinness
Manchester City: Albinson; Bullock, Humphreys, Oliver, Vasi (Tattum 46); Fernandes (Nemane 61), Holland, Wood (Dele-Bashiru 67), Dilrosun; Garcia; Buckley.
Subs: Tattum, Haug, Dele-Bashiru, Nemane, Hardy.