Manchester United’s Under-21s staggered to a hard fought 2-2 to the hands of Fulham at The AJ Bell Stadium on Monday night.
After going 2-0 behind, United came back through an Arthurworrey own goal and a late Michael Keane strike which will be seen as a well fought draw by Warren Joyce despite being big favourites prior to the game.
United’s starting XI saw the return of veteran midfielder Darren Fletcher after a severe bout of ulcerative colitis.
The game got off to a very dull start with neither sides having any real chances in the opening half an hour. Fulham then went close when Moussa Dembele (no, not the one who now plays for Spurs) hit the bar after he glanced the ball with the inside of his foot.
By now, Fulham were in control by now and they took the lead just after 30 minutes when United failed to clear the ball and Dembele pounced to strike the ball past the helpless Johnstone.
That was the highlight of what was an extremely quiet first half for both teams.
Fulham started the second half the way they started the first and after consecutive corners, they doubled their lead through Muamer Tankovic after he poked from six yards.
This provoked a big reaction out of United and three minutes after Fulham scored their second, Tyler Blackett broke down the left wing and provided a superb cross which Will Keane got a foot to and after his shot was saved superbly by the Fulham keeper, the ball rebounded off Arthurworrey’s leg for an own goal.
United were now back in it and were in full control when Tom Lawrence and Michael Keane linked up superbly on the edge of the box but Lawrence shot wide from ten yards out.
Then just three minutes from time, United claimed a deserved equaliser through Keane. After scrappy play on the edge of the box, Keane rifled home a superb effort from 20 yards out.
The game then petered out to finish a draw in a match which was definitely a tale of two halves.
United’s Under-21s now have an 11 day break as they prepare for the visit of Stoke City in their return game to Altrincham’s Moss Lane.