Premier Academy League
26 March 2011, Carrington
Manchester United U18s maintained their unbeaten run following a 2-1 victory over Newcastle United. Larnell Cole continued his impressive goal scoring form and Luke Giverin netted late in proceedings to secure victory for Paul McGuinness’s side.
After a fairly uneventful opening with Newcastle content on dropping deep and defending their goal line the opener from the U18s came somewhat as a surprise. On 35 minutes Cole picked up the ball inside the centre circle; from the inside left position the midfielder surged forward to the edge of Newcastle’s penalty area and curled his effort past goalkeeper Jak Alnwick to score his eighth goal of the season. This goal was another of the highest quality from the youngster who has now surpassed Will Keane to become the second leading goal scorer (behind John Cofie with 10) for the U18s this term.
Five minutes before half time and somewhat more surprising was the equaliser from Newcastle. The impressive Ryan McGorrigan skipped past Tyler Blackett and from the right wing delivered an inch perfect cross allowing Dan Taylor to glance home a header past Sam Johnstone from only 6 yards out.
Two other talking points of note during the first half was a challenge from Jesse Lingard and the first appearance at U18 level for Mats Moller Daehli. Lingard was perhaps lucky to escape a red card following a rash two footed lunge on Newcastle Captain Patrick Nzuzi with the referee deeming a yellow card sufficient punishment.
Nzuzi then played his part in the latter talking point however, on this occasion he was the aggressor. His flaying arm smacked into the face of Ekangamene when the pair competed for a header; leaving blood pouring from the nose of the United player. Minimal blame can be attached to Nzuzi; his eyes were firmly fixed on the ball and his sole intention was to win the header. Ekangamene was forced to leave the pitch and was replaced by the highly touted Daehli. The young Norwegian was not overly involved, but on first impressions he appears to be technically tidy and he possesses quick feet.
The second half was a considerable more enjoyable affair with both teams showing a greater hunger to attack. United started the brighter of the two and came close to regaining the lead when Tom Lawrence had his goal bound effort cleared off the line. Alex Nicholson responded for Newcastle firing a long distance attempt wide and Lingard repeated the feats from the other end by clearing Jamie Smith’s shot off the goal line. Good play involving Lingard, Morrison and Cole created a glorious opportunity for Michael Keane; unfortunately the defender could only hit the side netting from close range. Following Keane’s effort the visitors enjoyed a sustained period of play deep inside United’s half resulting in a string of fine saves. Taylor was the first to test Johnstone, then from a tight angle McGorrigan brought a smart save from the England U19 international and from the resultant corner a Newcastle attacker was allowed a free header but somehow Johntsone managed to block the effort.
Following Newcastle’s spell of pressure the home side slowly but surely began to reassert their foothold in the game. On 82 minutes replacement Giverin sealed the victory with a close range finish. Massacci who had been a constant threat throughout supplied a low cross from the right byline. The cross missed Lingard at the near post allowing Giverin to score his first goal of the season for the U18s.
The remainder of the game ran its course without any further alarms for Paul McGuinness’ side. The U18s are now unbeaten in their last seven games.
Team: Johnstone; Massacci, Thorpe, M.Keane, Blackett; Cole, Ekangamene (Daehli, 30 mins), Tunnicliffe, Morrison, Lingard; Lawrence (Giverin, 77 mins).
Academy Team Stats for 2010-11 season: Academy Team Stats