Manchester United are through to the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup following a convincing 3-0 victory over Hull City at Old Trafford.
After many fruitless chances, United won thanks to deflected shots from Zack Dearnley and Callum Gribbin, before Gribbin sealed the win with a “clean” right-footed finish.
Hull City lost one of their starting XI early in the game with Ben Hinchcliffe being stretchered off but the Tigers never really got out of the starting blocks. Harvey Rodgers, in the Hull defence, foiled many United efforts this season. He cleared off the line from a Joe Riley curling side footed volley into the top corner. This was followed by a period of good build-up play but chances that weren’t taken well.
Just before half-time there was a flurry of activity in front of Hull’s goal. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, who had licence to move forward, saw a header cleared off the line. The defender followed that chance with another which hit the crossbar before a third effort went just wide of the goal.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah, who relished the extra room provided on the Old Trafford pitch, was also unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet as his strike hit the base of the post and bounced out from the goal. The final effort of the scramble fell to Devonte Redmond whose shot was blocked by the Hull defence.
Callum Gribbin was playing some lovely football at times with deft touches and pinpoint passing in the final third. He picked out Marcus Rashford closing down on goal but the forward couldn’t direct the ball towards goal. Zack Dearnley, who scored a wonderful goal in the last round of the cup, will claim the opening goal. As against Bury, having switched to the right flank, he shot for goal and a wild deflection saw the ball loop over the keeper’s head into the net.
Gribbin was fouled outside Hull’s penalty area. He stood up and took the freekick. Again United scored and again the effort was deflected, however, judging from the quality of the set=piece it may have gone in without help from Hull.
Rashford tried a curling shot and it just wasn’t his night as his effort went over the crossbar. Then Gribbin bagged his brace. Good build-up play from Riley, Rashford and Fosu-Mensah saw the ball make its way to Gribbin. When he claimed full control of the ball he shot with his weaker foot and placed the ball in the bottom corner.
There were a few more chances but United didn’t manage to add to their tally however the three goals scored were more than sufficient to claim progression to the next round of the competition.
The U18s will have to wait to see who they face in the fifth round, as Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers don’t play until January 22.
Manchester United: Henderson, Reid, Tuanzebe (c), Williams, Borthwick-Jackson, Riley, Redmond (Rathbone 86′), Fosu-Mensah, Dearnley (Scott 78′), Gribbin (Hamilton 86′), Rashford.
Unused Substitutes: Dorrington, Warren.
Goals: Dearnley, Gribbin x2.
Man of the Match: Gribbin/Fosu-Mensah.