FA Youth Cup fourth round
Upton Park, 19 January 2011
Will Keane’s first half goal was enough to ensure Manchester United’s U18s progressed to the 5th round of the FA Youth Cup with a 1-0 victory over their West Ham counterparts at Upton Park.
In a fairly even first half where chances were few and far between (due to a lack of quality in the final third), United took the lead when Keane pounced to bravely head home from 6 yards out. The ever energetic Ryan Tunnicliffe started the move showing a greater desire to win an aerial challenge against opposing midfielder, Eoin Wearen. Cole via his chest controlled Tunnicliffe’s header with ease, flicked the ball up for himself and hit a 25 yard volley all in one movement. Cowler made the save, however the young keeper spilled the effort, which allowed the on rushing Keane to grab his seventh goal of the season for the U18’s.
Towards the latter stages of the first half West Ham began to enjoy a greater share of possession and started to trouble United, in particular goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who flapped at a couple of crosses. The first half came to a close with United deserving their lead. Tom Thorpe was magnificent during the first period. He was strong in the tackle, made interceptions and was composed with ball at feet. Cole was comfortably United’s standout player in an attacking sense and was a constant threat to the West Ham defence. He looks an intelligent player, with good feet. I have a feeling that his future however, may lie in central midfield rather than as a wide player.
West Ham continued to dominate proceedings early in the second half without really threatening Johnstone’s goal. The home team retained possession and started to pin the visitors into their half. Thankfully for Paul Mcguinness, his team enjoyed a much needed 5-10 minute period of possession for themselves. The Keane brothers combined to create an opportunity that just evaded the outstretched Cofie and Cole found Gyliano Van Velzen inside West Ham’s penalty area, but the young Dutchman could only side foot his effort wide.
With time slipping away West Ham upped their tempo in search of an equaliser. On 70 minutes, Dylan Tombides was the first to test Johnstone and replacement Sebastian Lletget missed a glorious opportunity from nine yards out when it seemed certain that, he would score. Robert Hall hoped for a penalty, but Tyler Blackett timed his challenge perfectly. At the other end Keane nearly sneaked a second when he dinked the ball over the head of Cowler. Luckily for the goalkeeper he was able to recover as the ball would not drop quickly enough for Keane.
The United players started to tire and West Ham sensed an opportunity. The Hammers piled forward during the final stages and with virtually the last kick had a huge penalty shout when Hall’s goal bound effort was blocked by Michele Fornasier’s arm. The referee waved away the appeals to the annoyance of West Ham players. United were perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty. The referee soon blew his whistle for the final time to the joy of the travelling fans, who had shown great support throughout the game.
Team: Johnstone; M Keane, Thorpe, Fornasier, Blackett (Fryers, 85 mins); Cole, Tunnicliffe, Pogba, van Velzen; Cofie, W Keane