Barclays Premier League Under-18s
Manchester United vs. Everton
Venue: Aon Training Complex
Date: Saturday, 14 February 2015
Kick-off: 11:00 GMT
Manchester United responded to their FA Youth Cup exit on Monday night with a 3-2 win over reigning U18 champions Everton at the Aon Training Complex.
Despite being 2-0 down inside 25 minutes, a spirited United fightback saw them claim the three points that included an 89th minute winner from , his second of the game.
Marcus Rashford sandwiched Croskery’s two goals, after Nathan Broadhead and Liam Walsh gave Everton their lead, but the latter was sent off with just under 20 minutes remaining, for a second bookable offence.
The opening goal came after a neat one-two between Broadhead and Tom Davies led to the former’s surging run into the box, rolling the ball past RoShaun Williams onto his left foot, and his shot found the back of the net courtesy of a deflection off Axel Tuanzebe.
Their second came less than 10 minutes later, with Walsh’s curling free-kick beating Dean Henderson to his right and going in off the post.
Demetri Mitchell, starting his first game since September after his return from injury, produced a similar run to that of Broadhead for Everton’s first, but his shot was deflected into the hands of Mateusz Hewelt.
The two scorers then had another two chances, with Walsh shooting wide and Broadhead finding the arms of Henderson before United halved the deficit in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Jordan Thomspon found his midfield partner Devonte Redmond, who spread the ball out to the right to Tyler Reid. The right-back used the option of Joe Riley up ahead of him, and his cross was powered home by Ruairi Croskery, who beat his man at the near post, to make it game on at half-time.
A positive start to the second half from United, who began it with much more purpose and intensity, clearly sparked into life by that goal on the stroke of half-time.
Riley’s backwards header teed up Thompson, but his first time effort was held with ease, but the latter was to be involved in the equaliser just moments later.
An immaculate through ball, played from his own half, found the onrushing Rashford who carried the ball into the penalty area, before firing a weaker foot effort into the far corner.
Walsh was then sent off for the visitors, picking up a second yellow after he constantly moved the ball forward as he lined up a free-kick, despite being informed by referee Keith Martin to take it back.
A silly sending off from an Everton point of view, as the hosts kept pressing to find that winner, with Thompson’s shot blocked and Croskery’s first time strike from the rebound held by Hewelt.
Mitchell’s deep cross to the back post was palmed away and an Everton break led to substitute Antony Evans having a shot held.
United kept piling on the pressure, however, with Rashford forcing Hewelt into a fine low save with his left foot, before Thompson had another shot blocked.
The persistency eventually paid off when Riley danced his way past two Blue shirts into the box, put a low cross into the mixer, and Jack Bainbridge failed to clear, which allowed Croskery to squeeze the loose ball into the bottom corner.
That was the final action of the contest, with United winning for the fourth league game in succession and stretching their unbeaten record in the league to seven games, having not lost since the reverse fixture against the Toffees back in November.
Two trips to the Midlands now follow for Paul McGuinness’ side, with Derby County and Wolverhampton Wanderers the opponents next week.
Five games remain for the U18s and with games in hand on their rivals, a top four finish is looking likely as things stand.
Manchester United: Henderson; Reid, Tuanzebe, Williams, Borthwick-Jackson; Redmond, Thompson; Riley, Croskery, Mitchell (Dearnley 83); Rashford.
Subs: Rathbone, Byrne, Dearnley, Hamilton.
Manager: Paul McGuinness
Everton: Hewelt; Bainbridge, Graham, Thorniley, Myers (Kiersey 67); Davies, Walsh, Edge (Harrington 67); Charsley; Dyson, Broadhead (Evans 77).
Subs: Johnson, Harrington, Evans, Baningime, Kiersey.