U18’s: Everton 4 Manchester United 3

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Competition: Premier Academy League
Date: 16th October 2010
Venue: Finch Farm
Kick Off: 11am

Manchester United’s U18s succumbed to their first defeat of the season as Everton ran out 4-3 winners in a thrilling match at Finch Farm.

The game set off in a blistering pace and the deadlock was soon broken (6th minute) when Will Keane, helped by a slip from Everton defender Danny Murphy, latched onto a Ryan Tunnicliffe pass. With a body swerve Keane escaped the attentions of goalkeeper Adam Davies to finish into an unguarded goal – grabbing his fourth of the season. Everton and Murphy protested, but the goal stood. Eight minutes later the young defender was allowed to avenge for his error after poor goalkeeping from Sam Johnstone. From a free kick marginally inside United’s half left back Luke Garbett punted a long ball forward. Johnstone came off his line in an attempt to clear the danger, but missed the ball allowing Murphy to head into an empty net.

After the equaliser United enjoyed the greater share of possession with Tunnicliffe firing narrowly wide after good play by Ravel Morrison and Keane came close to adding his second with a crisp left foot effort. In between Everton had their own opportunity when winger Femi Orenuga showed good pace and power to create an opening for Conor McAleny, who could only hit the post from five yards out. On the thirty minute mark Paul McGuinness’ men became sloppy in possession allowing Everton a foothold in the match – moments before half time another surging run from Orenuga lead to him being hacked down by Zeki Fryers inside United’s penalty area. The referee had no other option but to award a penalty.  Garbett stepped up and drilled the spot kick down the centre of the goal.

United began the second half brightly and were awarded a penalty within three minutes after Gerbett handled the ball inside the penalty area. Tunnicliffe, and especially Keane were heavily involved in the build up. Keane scored his third penalty in his last three games, sending Davies the wrong way. After a slow start to the season Keane has now scored six goals for the Reserves and U18’s. After the penalty Morrison and Etzaz Hussain brought saves from Davies, but it was Everton that restored their lead when Murphy found himself unmarked inside the six yard box to head home from a corner. The United defence will be bitterly disappointed with their defending as the three goals conceded came from set pieces, although one was a penalty.

On sixty minutes, Morrison started to show his class and began to pull the strings in attack. He made a couple of jinking runs; enjoying good interplay with Hussain and then went on an amazing diagonal run, beating several would be tacklers only to be denied when his lobbed effort from the tightest of angles kissed the crossbar. Meanwhile McAleny was causing all sorts of problems for the United’s defence – hitting the post in one instance, with Michelle Fornasier struggling to make an impression on the young Evertonian. Then on eighty minutes, the striker headed home a Garbett cross to make the score 4-2. Johnstone was able to get a hand to the effort, but could not prevent the ball from sneaking over the line.

Via a corner United responded quickly with Fornasier scoring his second goal of the season. Ten minutes now remained for the U18’s to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. United struggled to create any chances and it was in fact McAleny, who should have sealed the victory when he missed a glorious opportunity. During injury time United started to pile on the pressure and should have salvaged the draw when Fornasier found himself 6-8 yards with the goal at his mercy, but the young Italian was denied brilliantly by Davies. Moments later the referee blew for full time.

Team: 1. Johnston; 2. M. Keane, 5. Thorpe (c), 4. Fornasier, 3. Fryers (Blackett 74 mins); 7. Lingard, 6. Tunnicliffe, 8. Pogba (Lawrence 74 mins), 11. Hussain; 10. Morrison, 9. W. Keane.

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