By Nathan Youd.
Manchester United U21s were made to work hard for their 2-0 victory by a stubborn Blackburn Rovers U21s side at Leigh Sports Village.
United struggled to break down a solid rovers rearguard for long periods until Wilfried Zaha took it upon himself to undo the Rovers defence.
The 15million man has failed to start in the Premier League so far this term but he did his chances of selection no harm with a wonderful performance tonight.
The Red Devils settled down well early on in the game but Jordan Slew almost stunned United after ten minutes with a surging run past four defenders but Sam Johnstone was equal to his swerving effort.
James Wilson came close for United midway through the first half as the game began to open up, firing straight at Urwin when he perhaps should have done better.
Wilfried Zaha was next to trouble the Blackburn defence, showing a glimpse of what prompted Sir Alex Ferguson to part ways with 15million for his services last season. The winger fronted up against the full back before driving the ball inches wide as United began to turn the screw.
Slew and Payne both threatened for Rovers as they toiled to give United a reminder they still posed a threat up front as the first half came to a close.
James Wilson was later denied by a good stop from Urwin seconds before half time as the first half finished goal less.
A bit of magic from Wilfried Zaha early on in the second half almost put United ahead but the winger could only fire straight at Urwin despite outfoxing three defenders in the build up.
Rovers seemed content to sit back and try to soak up the United pressure, offering next to nothing going forward apart from the impressive Jordan Slew who was the only spark going forward for the home side.
Zaha went one better minutes later without finding the next, this time he struck the post after leaving another three defenders trailing in his wake.
It really was turning into the Zaha show as he once again tested Urwin with a sharp volley as United continued to flow forward with wave after wave of attacks.
It was no surprise that Zaha finally opened the scoring twenty minutes from time, sliding past the keeper after a smart one-two with Fabio.
Darren Fletcher should have put the game beyond doubt after a neat through ball from James Wilson but perhaps a rusty first touch let the Scotland international down as he surged through on goal.
The killer goal would come moments later however as United put the game to bed and James Wilson grabbed a goal his work-rate deserved. Zaha drew a free kick on the edge of the Blackburn penalty area and Wilson stepped up to rifle the ball into the bottom corner for his 13th goal in 14 United starts this season.
Matthew Urwin and Jordan Slew were the only two Blackburn players to come out of their game proud of their efforts. The latter produced a super double save to ensure Joe Rothwell and then Andreas Pereira didn’t add to the score line as the game finished 2-0 to the visitors.
Blackburn Rovers: 1. Matthew Urwin, 2. Hugo Fernandez Molina, 3. Marcus Olsson, 4. Darragh Lenihan, 5. Kellen Daly, 6. Yann Songo’o, 7. Jordan Slew, 8. John O’Sullivan, 9. Jordan Preston, 10. Tim Payne, 11. Raheem Hanley.
Manchester United: 1. Sam Johnstone, 2. Guillermo Varela, 3. Reece James, 4. Joe Rothwell, 5. Charni Ekangamene, 6. Tom Thorpe, 7. Saidy Janko, 8. Darren Fletcher, 9. James Wilson, 10. Fabio, 11. Wilfried Zaha.
Subs: Pearson, Gollini (GK), Pereira, Love, Rudge, Barmby
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