Manchester United slumped to defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in Stevenage this evening. Spurs raced to a 3-0 lead after just 25 minutes with goals from Marcus Edwards, Japhet Tanganga, and Joe Pritchard. Those goals proved to be sufficient to give all three points to Spurs.
It was a youthful fixture with 16 of the starting 22 players still in their teens. Luke Shaw continued to get minutes under his belt with a second start in a row for Ricky Sbragia’s side. Meanwhile, James Wilson played his first game having been sidelined for 10 months through injury. RoShaun Williams was ruled out after a head injury picked up on Monday, Matthew Willock was unavailable due to injury. Theo Richardson came in to replace Joel Pereira in goal.
Ethan Hamilton had an early chance with a half-volley. His technique was very good, managing to keep the flight of the ball down and on target, unfortunately however Brandon Austin managed to save it. The tide then swung firmly in Spurs’ favour. Marcus Edwards with a great curling finish from outside the area. Hamilton lost possession on the edge of the area. Joe Pritchard found Marcus Edwards who made space and send the ball flying past Richardson.
A mere 1 minute 47 seconds later and Spurs had doubled their lead. Defender, Japhet Tanganga, came forward to attack the corner. He got his head to the ball and gave the London side a two-goal cushion. United’s defence and goalkeeper were not comfortable for either of the goals and that continued for the third which came in the 25th minute. A slip from Shaw saws Spurs regain possession. Mitchell was bypassed by a one-two. The ball was played into Joe Pritchard who found the back of the net.
United started to put together some decent pieces of play towards the end of the half. Austin saved another effort from distance from Hamilton. Wilson had a couple of chances but the rust of the last ten months out was evident as his first effort went wide while his second, from outside the box, was blocked.
Shilow Tracey had two good efforts at the start of the second half. Fortunately United were able to breathe sighs of relief as neither attempt was on target. While United did improve in the second half, they were helped by a Spurs side which had done enough in the first half to not have to trouble themselves too much in the second. In fact, their coach took the opportunity to get his team to try out new tactics, including playing out short from the back.
Josh Bohui had a decent game, although he and Indy Boonen were undermined by the lack of support from elsewhere on the pitch. Boonen closed down well and won back possession. The Belgian found Bohui with the ball. The finish didn’t have the power behind it but it forced Austin to make a save.
The Lilywhites did find the back of the net for a fourth time in the game but the offside flag was raised. However, United did improve in the second half. In particular there was a 15 minute spell from the 60th minute in which Wilson, who grew into the game, had a number of attempts on goal. A fitter, sharper, Wilo would probably have bagged a couple but as it was Austin had to be alive to the threat posed. Wilson made way after a solid 75 minutes which is a good foundation for his return from injury.
Matthew Olosunde hit the woodwork late in the game, but at full-time the scoreline was left unchanged from the 25th minute. While there is an argument that United were unfortunate not to have pulled a goal back in the second half, it is hard to argue with the result. The main headlines from the game will be focussed on the 75 minutes for Wilson and a full 90 minutes for Shaw. Shaw’s is especially welcomed as he only played his first 60 on his return on Monday evening.
This loss means that of their first three fixtures, the u23s have had one win, one draw, and one loss – in that order. The Reds now have a slight break in fixtures before they face Arsenal on Friday 8th September.
Man United: Richardson, Olosunde, Warren, Tuanzebe, Shaw, Bohui, Hamilton, McTominay (c), Mitchell, Boonen, Wilson (Buffonge 78′).
Unused Substitutes: M. Johnstone, Sang, Whelan, Scott.
Booking(s): Shaw (86′).
Man of the Match: Indy Boonen.
Tottenham Hotspur: Austin, Eyoma, Tanganga, Brown, Bennetts, Pritchard, Skipp, Amos (Duncan 64′), Edwards, Tracey (Shashoua 87′), Sterling (Loft 78′).
Unused Substitutes: O’Reilly, Marsh.
Goal(s): Edwards (11′), Tanganga (13′), Pritchard (25′)
Booking(s): Pritchard (58′), Tracey (61′).