Manchester United suffered their second defeat of the season on the road against Southampton. The Reds lost 1 – 0 with Ryan Seager’s goal proving the difference between the sides in a closely contested match.
United were forced into a late change to the starting line-up. Josh Harrop was due to start but had to be replaced in the squad by Matty Willock and in the starting XI by James Weir as he wasn’t feeling well. Tom Thorpe was out through injury while Jonny Evans was once again in central defence trying to build up his fitness on his return from injury.
It was a tight first half with neither side creating many chances. Southampton pressed well when they didn’t have the ball but United stood up to that pressure well. A few challenges were flying in from Saints’ players but the first booking went to Joe Rothwell. Ben Pearson also picked up a booking with around 5 minutes to the break for talking back at the referee when he awarded a free-kick. Southampton had a few long range shots but didn’t trouble Ben Amos, while United’s best chance fell to Will Keane. He managed to control Andreas Pereira‘s cross, turn and get his shot off but the Saints’ keeper was equal to it.
The second half was slightly more entertaining, with both sides carving out more chances. Jonny Evans made a goal line clearance to keep the scoreline goalless. Amos failed to collect the ball and the shot came in and Jonny Evans did well to hook the ball clear. Amos then recovered to make a save from the rebound. Southampton then had a free-kick which hit the top of the crossbar.
James Weir was fouled in the Southampton penalty area but the referee waved away the penalty claims. A long range shot from Omar Rowe beat Amos but fortunately it was thwarted by the woodwork. Amos was on hand to claim the rebound. In the final stages of the game Andreas Pereira won a free-kick in front of goal just outside the penalty area but blasted the shot well over, in a poor night for his set-piece delivery.
Seager nicked a win for the Saints in the final minute of normal time. Donald Love misplaced his pass and Southampton went on to score, slotting past Ben Amos. There was no time for United to make a comeback.
United retain top spot in the Barclays’ U21 Premier League despite the loss but Southampton are level on points and only second due to goal difference.
Manchester United: Amos, Janko, Love, J. Evans, Vermijl (c), Grimshaw (C. Evans 54′), Rothwell, Pearson, Weir, A. Pereira, W. Keane.
Unused Substitutes: J. Pereira, Tuanzebe, Willock, A. Fletcher.
Bookings: Rothwell, Pearson.
Man of the Match: Marnick Vermijl/Will Keane.