Under-18 Premier League
Manchester United vs. Blackburn Rovers
Venue: Aon Training Complex
Date: Saturday, 5 November 2016
Kick-off: 11:00 BST
Manchester United dismantled Blackburn Rovers at under-18 level with a resounding 4-1 victory at the Aon Training Complex.
The opening two were scored by centre-backs Lee O’Connor and captain Tyrell Warren, before the ever-impressive Angel Gomes slotted home before half-time.
Substitute Aidan Barlow rounded off the scoring after the break, with an unfortunate own goal by Ethan Hamilton placing the visitors on the scoresheet with a mere consolation.
Despite the scoreline, United keeper Ilias Moutha-Sebtaoui was called into action to deny Tre Pemberton early on.
The first goal came after Indy Boonen’s corner was punched clear by Ben Ashcroft, but only as far as Hamilton, who raced to the byline and fired a drilled cross to which O’Conner was able to tap home.
Further chances for the industrious hosts saw DJ Buffonge drive an attempt over the bar before Gomes’ low shot was saved at his near post by Ashcroft.
Used to keeping goals out at one end, United’s centre-backs combined as O’Connor’s cross from the right was headed home by Warren to double the advantage.
After unlikely scorers were making names for themselves, reality returned to normal after Gomes slotted home a finish as his status continues to rise.
Just before the internal, Jack Evans was denied, but Rovers entered half-time shell-shocked.
Looking for his second, Gomes’ weaker foot effort bounced wide, as Daniel Butterworth forced Moutha-Sebtaoui into a save.
Then came the period of the triple changes for Kieran McKenna’s side, with Nishan Burkart heading over from Jake Kenyon’s fizzed delivery.
Returning after a three month injury lay-off, Callum Gribbin’s shot fell wide, before the game was wrapped up for good moments later.
Callum Whelan’s left-hand corner was prodded home by Barlow, as the goals continued to flow for United at this level this season.
Whelan himself saw a swerving free-kick hit the side netting, before Hamilton inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net at the other end late on, but it did nothing to alter the overall outcome of the match.
Another positive display by McKenna’s side, who leapfrog today’s opponents in the process, moving into second, sandwiched between rivals Liverpool and leaders Manchester City.
To make this victory all the more impressive, Blackburn were on a seven game unbeaten run heading into this fixture.
This win means United are unbeaten in five games of their own, ahead of consecutive away trips to Newcastle United and Liverpool in the weeks to come.
They head into those matches in good spirits, hoping to continue their recent form.
Manchester United U18s: Moutha-Sebtaoui; Tanner, O’Connor, Warren, Kenyon; Hamilton, Whelan; Buffonge (Barlow 59), Gomes (Gribbin 59), Boonen; Chong (Burkart 59).
Subs not used: Fojticek, Dunne.
Manager: Kieran McKenna
Blackburn Rovers U18s: Ashcroft; Jackson, Makinson, Magloire, Thompson, Pemberton, Evans, Mols, Lynch (Doyle 46), Hendry (Williams 46), Butterworth (Steer 66).
Subs not used: Campbell, Curran.
Manager: Eric Kinder