Manchester United travelled to Southport to take on Everton but didn’t bring any points back with them following a 2-0 defeat. Dominic Calvert-Lewin was gifted an early goal after a defensive error and Oumar Niasse doubled the lead with a header in the second half to seal a comfortable win.
There were two changes to the side that won 3-2 against Derby County last week with both Kieran O’Hara and Scott McTominay picking up slight knocks during the week. Sam Johnstone and Ro-Shaun Williams came into the side having come on as a substitute last week, with Sadiq El Fitouri pushing forward into midfield. Everton started with Niasse up front, the striker that the Toffees spent £13.5 million on in the summer.
The Reds soaked up the early pressure from Everton, with the full-backs for the Blues pushing forward at every opportunity. Both Gethin Jones and Callum Connolly tested Johnstone from distance in the early stages but the goalkeeper was equal to the attempts.
Everton were gifted the first goal of the game. Axel Tuanzebe played the ball back to his defensive partner Regan Poole. It was a fairly untroubled situation for the Welshman however, he lost composure and played the ball back across the face of goal into space. Calvert-Lewin was closing down the space and tapped home past Johnstone to give the home side the lead.
Warren Joyce’s side reacted well to going a goal behind. The lack of a striker did limit the options somewhat though, as while possession was being retained better, there was something missing in the final third. No real clear cut chances were created and Mateusz Hewelt wasn’t given much to do.
The second half started in much the same manner as the first, with Everton having an early chance. This time it came from Kieran Dowell but Johnstone collected the ball. Tuanzebe was on hand with good defending on many occasions, however, on one such occasion he stood on the ball which allowed Niasse to claim it. The ball went out for a shot which Poole blocked with his body, causing some pain, fortunately he was able to continue.
Oumar Niasse scored Everton’s second. The ball was played into the box from a corner. Poole was the person marking Niasse but he let him get to the ball unchallenged and Niasse headed into the back of the net.
After the second goal, there weren’t many chances created with a toothless performance going forwards from the visitors. While the lack of a natural striker does inhibit the play somewhat, it doesn’t necessarily explain the lack of efforts on goal for the majority of the game.
Some urgency was injected in the final minute of normal time with a cross in from Joe Riley finding substitute Demetri Mitchell at the far post. Mitchell’s effort forced Mateusz into a near post save. The ball came out to Josh Harrop who struck it goalwards but an Everton defender managed to loop it clear over the crossbar. The final minute flurry of activity wasn’t enough to claim a consolation.
United will have a little break in the fixtures calendar with just over three weeks until the next game against Liverpool on Tuesday 18th October.
Man United: S. Johnstone, Williams (Olosunde 64′), Tuanzebe (c), Poole, Riley, El Fitouri, Redmond, Scott (Mitchell 61′), Hamilton (Kehinde 73′), Harrop, Willock.
Unused Substitutes: Moutha-Sebtaoui, O’Connor.
Booking(s): El Fitouri (32′), Harrop (66′).
Man of the Match: Axel Tuanzebe.
Everton: Hewelt, Jones, Connolly, Kenny (c), Holgate, Davies, Walsh, Dowell, Niasse (Williams 60′), Calvert-Lewin (Duffus 74′), Dyson (Charsley 60′).
Unused Substitutes: Gray, Henen.
Goal(s): Calvert-Lewin (19′), Niasse (53′).
Booking(s): Davies (90′).