U23s: Southampton 2-0 Manchester United

by Tracey Germaine

Manchester United slumped to their first defeat of the season away to Southampton at St. Mary’s. Two second half goals from Josh Sims and Jack Stephens gave the Saints a 2-0 victory over the champions.

United were without two starters from last week’s 1-0 victory over Leicester City, with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson departing on loan to Wolves and Sam Johnstone having picked up a knock. However, Sadiq El Fitouri was available for the match-day squad and started at right back.

Olufela Olomola brought Dean Henderson into action after just three minutes when the lively forward got past Regan Poole and forced Henderson to parry the ball out for a corner.

The first half was notable for two missed chances from James Weir. The first fell to the forward following good build-up play from Tosin Kehinde and Scott McTominay – the two stand-out players of the first half. McTominay laid the ball off to Weir after a neat one-two, but Weir was leaning back when he took on the shot causing the ball to rise over Harry Lewis’ goal. McTominay then also saw a shot sail over the crossbar for the same reason.

20-year-old Jake Hesketh, who made his first team debut for the Saints against United at St. Mary’s in December 2014, had arguably the best chance for Southampton in the first half with a lovely left-footed effort from just outside the box. Henderson had to stretch to produce a the save.

Weir’s second missed chance came just two minutes before half-time. Josh Harrop sent in a corner which Lewis, under pressure from McTominay, didn’t keep hold of at the far post. It spilled to Weir who send the ball wide of the post, missing a “sitter”.

Josh Sims had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half but the flag went up for offside. Unfortunately United didn’t heed that warning sign. Sims gave the Saints the lead after his effort deflected off Joe Riley to go into the net. Axel Tuanzebe‘s header in the box went straight out to Josh Sims who instinctively struck the ball goalwards.

Axel Tuanzebe was involved again in the second goal. Saints’ captain Harrison Reed put in a good corner into the box, and Jack Stephens lost Tuanzebe before heading past Henderson to give the home side a two goal cushion. Olomola also had a number of chances which he didn’t direct on target.

Reed had to clear off the line to prevent Devonte Redmond‘s effort pulling a goal back for United. That moment of danger, like Weir’s second miss earlier, came from a corner ball sent in from Harrop, although this time from the other side of the pitch.

United lost a bit of composure in the final half hour with bookings issued to Matthew Willock, Harrop, and substitute Demetri Mitchell for late challenges. Warren Joyce will no doubt be unhappy that his players let their frustrations get the better of them.

Man United: Henderson, El Fitouri (Mitchell 63′), Tuanzebe, Poole, Riley, Harrop, Willock, McTominay, Redmond, Kehinde, Weir (c).
Unused Substitutes: O’Hara, Scott, Sang, Whelan.
Goal(s): – .
Booking(s): Willock (60′), Harrop (84′), Mitchell (87′).
Man of the Match: – .

Southampton: Lewis, Valery, McQueen, O’Connor, Stephens, Jones, Johnson (Gape 95′), Reed (C), Hesketh, Sims (Mdlalose 86′), Olomola (Wood 92′).
Unused Substitutes: Parkes, Willard.
Goal(s): Sims (56′), Stephens (62′).
Booking(s):

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