Man United beat Derby County 3-2 in the first Premier League Two match this season at Old Trafford. Josh Harrop scored from the penalty spot while Scott McTominay and Charles Vernam scored a goal in each half for their respective sides.
There was only one change to the side that beat Villarreal on Tuesday with Kieran O’Hara coming in to replace Sam Johnstone. Derby came into the game without having picked up a point in Premier League 2 this season although they did run Man City and Tottenham close in their previous games.
United started the game with intent. Josh Harrop had a early strike on goal, shooting first time but sending it wide. Charlie Scott sliced a shot wide from distance before Joe Riley cut inside from the left wing and had the first shot on target. Henrich Ravas, however, was on hand to make the save.
In the 17th minute United capitalised on the early pressure. Harrop sent a lovely curling ball into Scott McTominay’s path. The 6’4″ midfielder burst through the Derby defence and headed past Ravas to give United the lead.
The Reds could have increased their lead with a number of efforts on target. Harrop had a shot but a deflection took the sting off the attempt and Ravas could gather the ball. Joe Riley used a burst of acceleration to get past the Derby full back. His cross into the box found McTominay but the midfielder’s shot hit the woodwork. Shortly afterwards McTominay came close again after good play from Hamilton and Riley on the left wing but the goalscorer was unable to keep his effort down.
Against the run of play, the Rams equalised. The United defence failed to deal with a corner. The Derby County no. 9 sent the ball into the 6 yard. Charles Vernam struck it goalwards. Redmond was behind the line to kick the ball clear but it had crossed the line and it was well spotted by the linesman. The goal gave the Rams confidence heading into the final stages of the first half.
It was a more even start to the second half. Matty Willock picked out an onrushing El Fitouri but the full-back’s ball into McTominay caught a slight deflection which took it too close to Ravas. Down the other end of the pitch, a freekick conceded by Hamilton led to an opportunity for the visitors. United didn’t pick up on the space on the far side. The ball was sent into the player in space who floated the ball into Lewis Walker, son of Des Walker. The attempt went just wide.
United took the lead for the second time from the penalty spot. Alex Cover swept the legs from underneath Harrop in the penalty area. The creative midfielder stepped up to the spot and finished past Ravas.
However, Warren Joyce’s side could only enjoy the lead for 7 minutes before Derby equalised for the second time. Alefe Santos, who had only come on following the penalty, sent a lovely ball swinging into the United box. Poor defending from Axel Tuanzebe allowed Vernam to get a header onto the ball and score his and Derby’s second.
With just over 5 minutes remaining of normal time, McTominay scored his second. Riley played a dangerous ball into the box. Matthew Olosunde showed some lovely chest control to take the ball down and his tricky feet kept possession. The ball was fed into McTominay who slotted home. That proved to be the winner.
United next face Everton away at Southport FC’s grounds on Monday 26 September. Kick-off at 7pm.
Man United: O’Hara, El Fitouri, Tuanzebe (c), Poole, Riley, Scott (Williams 64′), Redmond (Olosunde 58′), McTominay, Harrop, Hamilton, Willock.
Unused Substitutes: Moutha-Sebtaoui, Chong, Doughty.
Goal(s): McTominay (17′, 85′), Harrop (67′ p).
Booking(s): Hamilton (54′).
Man of the Match: Scott McTominay.
Derby County: Ravas, Stabana, Wassall, Cover, MacDonald, Hanson, Gordon, Guy, Vernam, Jakobsen (Babos 86′), Walker (Santos 68′).
Unused Substitutes: Yates, Trialist A, Trialist B.
Goal(s): Vernam (34′, 74′).
Booking(s): Hanson (27′), Stabana (89′).