Man United took on Blackburn Rovers at home in the first league fixture for three weeks. United were one point behind Rovers in the table prior to kick off. Lee O’Connor, Tyrell Warren, and Angel Gomes were on the scoresheet for the home side in the first half. Substitute Aidan Barlow scored United’ fourth of the game before an own goal from Ethan Hamilton gave the visitors a consolation goal.
Tahith Chong started the game in a central role up front, Ilias Moutha-Sebtaoui replaced Alex Fojiticek in goal, while Callum Gribbin returned from a spell out through injury to take his place among the substitutes.
The Reds took the lead after 18 minutes. Indy Boonen floated the ball in from a corner. Rovers’ goalkeeper, Ben Ascroft punched but it fell to Ethan Hamilton who ran to the byline & played it in for O’Connor to slot home. That was O’Connor’s first goal for the u18s.
The centre-back turned provider for his defensive partner 15 minutes later. He played a lovely ball into the box from the right side of the pitch. Captain Warren rose highest and headed the ball onwards into the back of the net.
Gomes then put more distance between the sides before the break. He had been denied by Ascroft earlier in the half with a decent save with his foot at the near post. This time DJ Buffonge played a neat through ball which set Gomes clear of the defender. He was though one on one with Ascroft and this time manged to beat him with his shot to the far side of the goal.
The scoreline at the end of the first half wasn’t necessarily a fair reflection of the half. There were a couple of spells of pressure from Blackburn. Moutha-Sebtaoui was called on to make a couple of saves and there were several occasions where United were called on to defend.
Early in the second half, Gomes saw a shot deflected wide, however, the opening exchanges of the first half were a bit more evenly balanced. Then United made a triple change with Gribbin, Aidan Barlow, and Nishan Burkart coming on to replace Gomes, Buffonge, and Chong.
The substitutes were involved quickly. Jake Kenyon sent a ball in across the face of goal at pace towards Burkart. The striker however struggled to control the ball and sent it over the bar. However, his fellow substitute was much more fortunate moments later. Callum Whelan played in a lovely ball from the corner flag. Barlow was there in teh six-yard box to side foot it onto the underside of the crossbar to get United’s fourth of the game.
Unfortunately United weren’t able to keep a clean sheet. Rovers won a corner and the ball was played in. Moutha-Sebtaoui flapped at the oncoming ball which continued across the face of goal. It hit off Hamilton and deflected into the back of the net. There was nothing that Hamilton was able to do to stop it.
That win temporarily puts United second on the table behind Man City. The u18s are next in action on Saturday 12th November as Kieran McKenna’s side take on Newcastle away from home.
Man United: Moutha-Sebtaoui, Tanner, O’Connor, Warren (c), Kenyon, Buffonge (Barlow 59′), Hamilton, Whelan, Boonen, Gomes (Gribbin 59′), Chong (Burkart 59′).
Unused Substitutes: Fojiticek, Dunne.
Goal(s): O’Connor (18′), Warren (33′), Gomes (38′), Barlow (63′).
Man of the Match: Lee O’Connor.
Blackburn Rovers: Ashcroft, Jackson, Makinson, Magloire, Thompson, Pemberton, Evans, Mols, Lynch (Doyle 46′), Hendry (Williams 46′), Butterworth (Steer 66′).
Unused Substitutes: Campbell, Curran.
Goal(s): Hamilton OG (83′).
Booking(s): Pemberton (77′).