By Nathan Youd.
Manchester United U21s eased past West Bromwich Albion U21s with a four-goal demolition at The Hawthorns.
Nick Powell and Jonny Evans were notable starters as both players looked to regain some match fitness after injury hit pre-season campaigns.
Goals from Powell, Angelo Henriquez, Adnan Januzaj and Tom Lawrence secured an easy three points for United who bounced back to winning ways after Monday’s defeat to Liverpool.
United started the brighter of the two sides, passing the ball around easily in front of the West Brom box as the home side looked content to sit back with 11 men behind the ball.
It was no surprise when United opened the scoring on fifteen minutes through the returning Powell, who rose to meet a Januzaj corner from ten yards out to give United a deserved lead.
Moments later, Powell almost added a second after finding himself in space outside the West Brom penalty area, but the former Crewe man flashed his shot wide.
Tom Thorpe was next to come close for United as West Brom struggled with another aerial delivery, but the Skipper nodded wide of the right hand upright, before Januzaj stung the palms of Rose following a swift United break.
West Brom’s only real sight of Ben Amos’ goal in the first half came on the half hour mark, but the United keeper was alert to palm away Kemar Roofe’s strike.
United continued their dominance throughout the first half and deservedly added a second just before the break through Henriquez. Powell found a pocket of space on the edge of the box and picked out Lingard who left the Chilean with an easy tap in.
The goal was the last bit of real action before the halftime whistle as the break came with United 2-0 up and absolutely cruising without getting out of second gear.
West Brom started the second half well, showing more attacking intent and looking to get a foothold back in the game. This intent almost worked against them as Powell surged forward on the break, but Larnell Cole’s lazy pass was snuffed out when United should have really been 3-0 up.
United were then gifted the chance to add to their advantage seconds later as Brad Garmston hacked down Henriquez in the area leaving the referee no chance but to point to the spot.
Januzaj dispatched the spot kick into the top left hand corner to make it 3-0 to United in style.
Januzaj should have added his second and United’s fourth minutes after, but he fired wide from eight yards out before Powell blazed over from Lingard’s cut-back.
Lingard was the next man to spurn a good opportunity, slicing wide from the edge of the box after a smart run from the advancing Michael Keane had created an opening.
Powell was in the heart of every United attack and almost created a fourth for Cole. The England U21 international evaded three West Brom players before releasing Cole who saw his shot blocked.
Januzaj was replaced my Tom Lawrence after another bright performance and the influential Powell also made way for U21 debutant Joe Rothwell.
And it was Tom Lawrence who scored United’s fourth with his first touch with fifteen minutes to go. Henriquez slipped a ball through to Guillermo Varela who put the ball on a plate for substitute Lawrence to fire home.
Andreas Pereira replaced the impressive Jesse Lingard with ten minutes to go. The midfielder will have done his chances of appearing for the first team no harm with another solid performance.
The final whistle blew soon after as United U21’s bounced back to winning ways with a comfortable 4-0 victory.
Full time: West Bromwich Albion U21s 0-4 Manchester United U21s
West Bromwich Albion U21s starting XI: Rose; Francis, Gayle, Daniels, Atkinson; Roofe, Birch, Hayes, Garmston; A. Jones, Ferrier.
Subs: C. Jones, Palmer, Oldnall, Campbell, Nabi.
Manchester United U21s starting XI: Amos; Varela, Evans, Keane, Blackett; Cole, Thorpe, Lingard; Januzaj, Powell, Henriquez.
Subs: Lawrence, Sutherland, Ekangamene, Pereira, Rothwell.
Latest Manchester United U21s statistics HERE.
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