Reserves: Manchester United 3 Wigan Athletic 1

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Date: 18th November, 2010
Venue: Moss Lane
Kick Off: 7pm

Manchester United reserves claimed a 3-1 victory over local rivals Wigan Athletic thanks in the main to two wonderful goals from Portuguese winger Bébé.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær made several changes to the team that drew 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion. After a three month injury layoff Joe Dudgeon made his return replacing the now on loan Ritchie De Leat (Preston North End). Reece Brown replaced U18 captain Tom Thorpe at the heart of the defence and Fabio, Jesse Lingard, Bébé coming in for M Keane, Magnus Eikrem and Ravel Morrison respectively.

The game barely had time to settle before United opened the scoring with the heavily criticised Bébé finding the back of the net after only three minutes. From a thrown in, Will Keane flicked on the ball into the path of Bébé. The young Portuguese winger gathered the ball, whilst perhaps not in full control he brushed aside would be tacklers with power and strength. Inside the penalty area he unleashed a crisp right footed shot; Wigan goalkeeper Lee Nicholls had little chance. After the goal both teams enjoyed their fare share of possession. On 13 minutes United nearly gifted Wigan an equaliser when the lively Ivan Sunday benefitted from indecision between Brown and Captain Scott Wootton. Sunday nipped in between the pair, easily rounded Ben Amos, but superb tracking back from Wootton prevented the striker from scoring into an empty net.

On the twenty minute mark United started to dominate proceedings with Ryan Tunnicliffe and Fabio’s (playing in an unaccustomed central midfield role) influence growing. Good interplay between Bébé and Fabio allowed the young Brazilian to cross from the by-line, Nicholls could only parry Fabio’s effort into the centre of the penalty area, but luckily for him the ball avoided the on rushing Cameron Stewart. Wigan responded with their own effort; Watson had a long range shot, which brought a stunning save from Amos. From the resultant corner the young goalkeeper claimed the cross securely and confidently. United continued to push forward; Lingard came close and Bébé had a shot deflected after a sustained period of possession involving Stewart, Tunnicliffe and Fabio.

Moments before half time United were awarded a penalty when Michael Girvan body checked Dudgeon inside Wigan’s penalty area. Referee Mark Haywood had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick, which in all honesty was a tad soft. Will Keane placed the penalty kick just left of centre to give United a 2-0 lead at half time.

The second half began in a relatively quiet manner. The referee was required to warn Tunnicliffe and Callum McManaman after handbags at dawn. From a tight angle Stewart blasted over the crossbar after a surging run from Lingard. On 56 minutes the night was soon lit up when Bébé scored his second goal of the night – an absolute wonder goal. A long high punt forward by Amos caused havoc within the Wigan defence; Jordan Mustoe misjudged the flight of the ball consequently kicking fresh air. The ball bounced perfectly into the path of Bébé where from the corner edge of the penalty area he unleashed a volley (showing excellent technique) finding the back of the net. Mustoe could only put his hands to his face and Nicholls blew out his cheeks in disbelief.

After Bébé’s strike, Solskjær utilised his bench with John Cofie replacing Lingard and moments later Dudgeon’s night was over when Thorpe was allowed further reserve team experience. As a result United’s defensive backline required a reshuffle and this perhaps told when Wigan opened their account. Ivon Sunday started and finished the move with a low stooping header beating the efforts of Amos. Sunday picked up the ball mid-way inside United’s half, he turned and fired a pass out to Girvan on the right wing. In doing so the striker slipped, picked himself up and showed a desire, running off the back of Fabio and Tunnicliffe to meet Girvan’s cross unchallenged inside the penalty area.  United responded well to the setback and nearly added a fourth when a Stewart through ball found Cofie, who hit the crossbar with a rocket shot that left the bar shaking.

During the final stages Wigan probably finished the stronger of the two teams. McManaman brought a fine save from Amos and substitute Jordan Rugg missed a golden opportunity when he missed a free header unmarked inside United’s six yard box. Ravel Morrison who replaced Bébé (on 70 minutes) showed the odd piece of magic, outfoxing several defenders with a sublime back heal flick to Tunnicliffe.

United have amassed eight points from five games.

Team: Amos, Vermijl, Dudgeon (Thorpe, 61 mins), Fabio, Wootton, R.Brown, Stewart, Tunnicliffe, W.Keane, Lingard (Cofie, 58 mins), Bébé (Morrison, 70 mins)

Reserve Team Stats for 2010-11 season: Reserve Team Stats

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