Manchester United’s Under-21s continued their winning streak tonight as they cruised to a 4-1 victory over Lancashire neighbours Bolton Wanderers at the Salford City Stadium.
In a relatively dull first 35 minutes, Bolton went close early on with a wonderful 30-yard free kick striking the top of the Ben Amos’ goal.
United had most of the possession and were dominating up until Amos came out to smother the ball but instead took all of the man and none of the ball to give Bolton the chance to put themselves in front. But Amos redeemed himself with a superb penalty save to keep the scores level.
The game then kicked into life just before half time when outstanding build up play down the left by Bolton saw Conor Wilkinson lingering in the middle of the box, and he fired home to put the Middlebrook outfit into the lead.
United replied on the stroke of half time. After an Adnan Januzaj corner was cleared, Larnell Cole rocketed a shot in the area and after a bit of a scramble, returning centre forward Will Keane poked home, despite the appeals for offside by the Bolton players.
Building from that, United started the second half the far better side with both full backs getting a lot of success down the flanks and took took the lead five minutes in.
A tremendous run and cross down the left by Tyler Blackett saw Lingard fire home to the goalkeeper’s bottom corner. With United grabbing the initiative in the game, Bolton resorted to playing on the counter attack with every player defending in their own box at corners.
It was now the turn of Guillermo Varela to get some success down the wing and when he threaded a marvellous ball through to Will Keane, it looked an almost certainty that he’d score but from a tight angle he missed it completely.
United then doubled their lead on the hour mark when a pin-point Januzaj free kick found the head of captain Thorpe at the back post who nodded past Bolton’s number one Jay Lynch.
By this time, United were cruising and when Bolton had a header cleared off the line in spectacular fashion, a United breakaway saw Lingard beat two men before firing home from 25 yards for his second of the game in the 85th minute.
This was the final action of a match which was certainly a game of two halves. Stand out performances from Tyler Blackett and Larnell Cole were the positives for United but they did look a little vulnerable on the counter attack when the score was 0-0.
Hopefully that vulnerability will be eradicated come next Thursday when United make the short trip to Gigg Lane to play Bury in the Manchester Senior Cup.