Barclays Premier League Under-21s
Everton vs. Manchester United
Venue: Merseyrail Community Stadium
Date: Monday, 16 March 2015
Kick-off: 19:00 GMT
Manchester United recorded a 2-1 victory away at Everton at U21 level as they boosted their chances of winning the league.
James Wilson’s tap-in and Paddy McNair’s volley gave the visitors a half-time lead, before a late penalty converted by Jonjoe Kenny made United sweat, but they held out for a vital win.
In the second minute, Liam Grimshaw saw his one-on-one saved by Russell Griffiths before United took an early lead, at a similar time as the first team did on Sunday.
Adnan Januzaj’s cross-field ball produced a poor touch by left-back Brendan Galloway, allowing Andreas Pereira to nip in, and although his shot was saved, Wilson was on hand to finish.
The Toffees made a swift response to falling behind, with Anders Lindegaard parrying George Green’s first time effort before David Henen’s left foot shot from 25 yards was also saved by the big Dane.
Ryan Ledson’s shot from distance flew just over the bar before Grimshaw’s deflected shot at the other end of the field was held.
Galloway, aiming to make amends for his mistake for United’s goal, produced a fine low cross across the six yard box, but Gethin Jones failed to get onto the end of it.
Wilson was forced off through injury but United doubled their lead, as McNair seemed to finish like Wilson.
Pereira’s free-kick was headed out by Ty Browning, beating his keeper to the ball, but this allowed McNair to side foot volley the ball into the empty net, as United went into half time with a two goal cushion.
Donald Love was booked early in the second half before Green’s free-kick flew over the bar without troubling.
Ledson’s tame effort fell wide before another Green effort, this time a deflected shot off of Grimshaw, dipped over the bar.
Neat play from Everton led to Henen’s shot being saved by Lindegaard before Galloway’s pull back found Ledson, but the number eight fired over with a first time effort.
The game was set up for a nervy finish however, with Sean Goss handling the ball inside the penalty, and captain Kenny sent Lindegaard the wrong and rolled the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Pereira then sent a free-kick that deflected off the wall, onto the roof of the net, before veteran Sylvain Distin blocked Pereira’s shot behind for a corner.
United professionally saw out the game, to extend their lead at the top of the table to 3 points.
A first league victory in four, United withheld the pressure from the home side for large parts of the game, only conceding to a dubious penalty, but had enough to hold out for a precious three points.
West Ham at home on April 7 is the next league game for Warren Joyce’s side, as the season draws closer to an end, with only a handful of fixtures remaining.
Manchester United: Lindegaard; Love, McNair, Thorpe, Kellett; Rothwell (Weir 46), Grimshaw, Goss; Wilson (Harrop 40).
Subs: Harrop, O’Hara, Willock, Weir, C. Evans.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Everton: Griffiths; Kenny, Browning, Distin, Galloway; Walsh (Dowell 54), Ledson; Junior, Green (Donohue 88), Jones; Henen.
Subs: Lundstram, Hunt, Dowell, Connolly, Donohue.