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Match Report: Man United U23 2-3 West Ham United U23

by Shane Healy

Match Report – Man United vs West Ham United
Leigh Sports Village.
Kick-off 7pm.
Final Score 2-3


It had been a long wait for the next game after the Manchester United Under 23s had played and lost 3-0 against Tottenham Hotspur on the 19th of March.

Coach Neil Wood picked a strong side, several of whom having been involved in the first team squad. Brandon Williams, Hannibal Mejbri and Shola Shoretire all started.

Anthony Elanga was itching to play after being on the first team bench against Granada in the Europa League on Thursday and recently returning from a collar-bone injury. He started up front.

Man United went into the game as favourites, with West Ham 2nd from bottom of the Premier League 2 table.

West Ham set up with a back five and would look to counter like they did in the previous meeting that ended 2-2.

For the first 10 minutes, Man United were on top. Alvaro Fernandez was pushing high from left back and was creating overloads, but just beyond that,

West Ham won a set piece and played a clever ball in behind Fernandez which resulted in a dangerous low cross that was cleared.

West Ham gained confidence from that and started to win duels.

Although Mejbri showed glimpses of skill cutting in from the left, Man United’s passing became sloppy.

Kai Corbett began to find space on the right side. He dinked a ball in behind the Reds’ defence in the 23rd minute to the onrushing Mesaque Dju, but his shot and run were well smothered by keeper, Nathan Bishop, making his debut at this level.

West Ham and Corbett looked the most dangerous but Man United wrestled back the momentum as half time approached. Noam Emeran had a great chance after getting in behind West Ham’s left back and a high defensive line but his left foot shot wasn’t wide enough of the keeper, who saved well.

The half-time whistle left Man United frustrated and West Ham the happier team. Fernandez and Mejbri had threatened down the left but also left space behind them.

For the second half, Marc Jurado came on for Brandon Williams. Anthony Elanga moved out to the left while Mejbri went deeper into midfield.
On the 49th minute, Man United scored. Fernandez cut back onto his right in West Ham’s box and played a well-spotted lobbed cross to Mark Helm arriving from midfield. He volleyed a cross-shot which beat the keeper well.

Six minutes later, Elanga doubled Man United’s lead, cutting in brilliantly from the left after a long 1-2 with Mejbri. A step-over and a feint before smashing it top right corner.

It looked like the game was over but West Ham hung on and after a quick free kick in the 59th minute that caught Man United out, striker Ademipo Odubeko unleashed a low, bobbling drive in space at the edge of the box that went in off the post.

They were back in it and immediately pushed higher. The momentum shifted again.

In the 72nd minute, Odubeko peeled off Will Fish and received the ball on the left of the Man United box. The young defender left him cut back onto his right too easily and he curled a great strike into the far corner. 2-2.

By the final 10 minutes, West Ham looked the more likely team to win it and Man United happier with the point; they thought they had it until the 93rd minute.

Odubeko picked it up on the left of the box again. Man United’s defence stood off him and he hit a slightly scuffed left foot shot. It dribbled into the corner of the goal for his hat-trick.

West Ham snatched it, 2-3, and were arguably the better side overall.

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