Manchester United’s u18s travelled to Burnley yesterday in search of three points to bring them closer to league leaders Blackburn Rovers.
Kobbie Mainoo and Sam Mather, who were involved in Friday’s u23s match, were among those involved.
The match kicked off in a feisty fashion as Burnley went direct and looked to impose themselves physically.
United’s first foray forward came through Ethan Ennis down the right wing with some direct dribbling before a curled in cross that met skipper Rhys Bennett’s head. However, the effort soared over.
Ennis was playing provider again when he drifted inside and played a quick through ball to Manni Norkett, who unleashed a powerful shot from a wide angle forcing a big rebound from the Burnley keeper. But Habeeb Ogunneye’s follow up attempt was fired over the bar.
After gaining control of the match, it took until the 39th minute for United to finally make the breakthrough. In a congested area, a blocked pass deflected to Ennis’ feet and the new signing made a quick pass, finding the open Jack Moorhouse, who rifled the ball into the top of the net for his first goal at u18s level.
United went into the half time break leading 0-1.
The second half didn’t start as planned though as Burnley hit back within three minutes of the restart.
After sending the ball in long, Burnley blocked Ogunneye’s clearances and the ball fell kindly for George Walters running through at the outrushing Radek Vitek. The keeper could only push the ball to Kade Ratchford and the Burnley man was able to slot into the empty goal to make it 1-1.
United began to chase the lead and almost got it through Norkett’s volley which was cleared off the line after getting on the end of Ennis’ cross.
Struggling with Burnley’s press and physicality, United’s mistakes in possession were also opening opportunities for Burnley but it would be United’s quality which would produce the next goal.
Some fantastic dribbling from Dan Gore allowed the midfielder to work his way into the box and get off a shot that was blocked out for a corner.
The resulting corner was swung in by Mather and cleared at the near post but Mather retrieved and delivered again, this time finding Norkett in the six yard box who couldn’t miss in the 76th minute.
United’s sloppiness was proving to be their downfall though, as Maxi Oyedele gave away possession in a dangerous area and Burnley forced an incredible save from Vitek with a dipping long range effort.
In the 89th minute it was heartbreak for United’s youngsters though as an in-swinging free kick from the left was allowed to bounce in the area and was poked home by Burnley’s central midfielder.
A bitter pill to swallow, the final whistle came shortly after, ending the match 2-2. Manager Travis Binnion was left less than impressed stating after the match that the performance just “wasn’t good enough.”
United’s u18s now sit third in the table, eight points behind Blackburn.
United: Vitek; Ogunneye, Fredricson, Aljofree, Bennett; Gore, Oyedele; Ennis, Moorhouse (Mainoo 62), Mather; Norkett.
Unused subs: Hanbury, Nolan, Kingdon, Berry.