Barclays Premier League Under-21s
Manchester United vs. Everton
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Date: Monday, 21 September 2015
Kick-off: 19:00 BST
First half goals from James Weir, James Wilson set the tone, with captain for the night Jesse Lingard adding a third after the interval.
Striker Calum Dyson bagged a consolation for the Toffees, with United keeper Sam Johnstone also featuring on the night.
Two players who were part of the first team’s tour of the U.S. over the summer combined for the first real chance of the game, with Sean Goss’ pass over the top of the Everton defence finding Lingard, but his lob fell over the bar.
A neat one-two between Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe led to the latter’s cross being met by Wilson’s volleyed backheel, but the ball missed the target.
Left-back Callum Connolly had a shot held by Johnstone in a rare Everton attack with a quarter of an hour gone.
Then came the opening goal, with patient possession being sped up by Josh Harrop who played the ball forward to Weir, who ran with purpose, playing a delightful one-two with Wilson, taking a touch to set and calmly slotting the ball past Mateusz Hewelt.
The first team’s third goal at the weekend against Southampton came courtesy of a 45-pass move, with a similar build-up surely pleasing Warren Joyce, with his side keeping the ball well before scoring, as Fosu-Mensah fired over without troubling the goal moments later.
As Everton looked to compose themselves with Liam Walsh, Harrop came flying in with a superb challenge, allowing Wilson to run away with the ball, and despite having Lingard to his left, he went alone, and found the back of the net with a fantastic finish.
Dyson cleverly turned Tuanzebe but sliced his left-footed effort wide, as Harrop’s positive run at the other end led to his shot being held.
Lingard’s left foot effort fell wide of Hewelt’s right-hand post as Dyson’s effort flew over from a tight angle, failing to get a clean connection on the ball.
David Henen forced a really good save from Johnstone via his header, as a predominantly one-sided first half came to an end with United in control.
Into the second half and Harrop – normally with an eye for goal – blazed over from close range.
United’s third goal arrived when Cameron Borthwick-Jackson ventured forward from left-back, and his pull-back evaded Weir but found Lingard, who tip-toed his way into the penalty area, and expertly found the bottom corner win a fine finish.
Lingard so very nearly produced the same finish not long later, but Mateusz produced a good save low to his left to deny the midfielder.
Joe Williams had a shot held before Ryan Ledson’s fantastic strike from distance looked goalbound, only for Johnstone to produce a fine save to deny the Toffees’ number eight.
Harrop had a shot blocked before his lobbed through ball found Weir, only for Mateusz to save once more.
Everton pulled a goal back when Jonjoe Kenny’s deep cross from the right was nodded in by Dyson, to give the visitors a sense of hope.
Kenny was then beaten by some neat footwork by Fosu-Mensah, who cut inside onto his favoured right foot, only for his attempt to deflect over the bar off substitute Callum Lees.
Dyson’s shot deflected into the arms of Johnstone with Wilson’s tame effort being held after Harrop’s lay off.
Connolly’s strike from range needed Johnstone to palm the ball away, as substitute Devonte Redmond fired over from distance in stoppage time.
United secured all three points, taking their tally to four from a possible six, as well as last week’s Lancashire Senior Cup victory over Rochdale.
A dominate hour or so from Warren Joyce’s side, but Everton forged a few chances after that, with no clean sheet a disappointment giving how lacklustre David Unsworth’s side were up until their goal.
After waiting 42 days since their last league game, the U21s will have to wait over a month once more, with a trip to Sunderland on October 26 next on the agenda, with the next home game coming against Reading the following week.
Manchester United: Johnstone; Varela, Tuanzebe, Love, Borthwick-Jackson; Fosu-Mensah (Redmond 78), Goss; Weir, Harrop, Lingard; Wilson.
Subs: El Fitouri, J. Pereira, Fletcher, Riley, Redmond.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Everton: Hewelt; Jones, Pennington (Yates 27), Kenny, Connolly; Walsh (Charnsley 46), Ledson (Lees 70); Williams, Grant, Henen; Dyson.
Subs: Charnsley, Gray, Graham, Lees, Yates.
Manager: David Unsworth