Manchester United’s u18s kicked off the weekend action with a visit to Everton’s windy Finch Farm.
The non-ideal conditions were immediately noticeable when Everton’s first goal kick was sent down field, only to be blown back to their 18-yard box.
The first opening of the match fell to Everton who looked to hit on the counter but the effort from the edge of the box drifted over the bar.
Much of the play was at Everton’s end for the first 20 minutes as they struggled to clear against the strength of the wind.
Despite the wind assistance, clear chances were few and far between for United.
The first trouble for Everton came through a Marc Jurado in-swinging corner from the left. With the help of the wind, the Spaniard’s whipped in delivery caused the defender to make a mess of the clearance. The ball bobbled around the panicked six-yard box but Everton’s keeper, Patrick Nash, eventually jumped on it.
United were almost handed a goal in the 32nd minute when the Everton defender played a back pass and caught their keeper off guard. The ball rolled all the way across the goal and out for a corner.
The resulting corner was taken short and never made it into the box. This was a common theme from United’s corners in the half. Despite their biggest chance coming from a whipped in corner, United often chose to ignore the wind advantage and go short.
United’s first clear chance looked to come in the 35th minute when Sam Mather sent through a chipped ball for Ethan Ennis, but the ex-Liverpool winger was just offside.
Up at the other end, Everton’s big striker Martin Sherif was a handful to deal with and his never-ending pressing forced a turnover in the box. Sherif laid the ball off to his onrushing teammate for a free shot from 16 yards but it was sent over the bar.
It took until the 44th minute for United to get their first shot on target. After winning a free kick at the corner of the box, Mather attempted a curling effort but it was straight into the keeper’s arms in the end.
Seconds before the break, Everton struck with a late hit to go into half-time up 1-0. After a corner wasn’t cleared, the ball was driven back into the box and fell to Emilio Lawrence who smashed it into the net, giving Radek Vitek no chance.
The whistle was blown immediately upon the restart, it had been a poor half from United which was filled with lots of possession but little threat.
Everton continued to create the bigger of the chances in the second half as Charlie Whitaker found himself open on the left but Vitek was out quickly to close the angles and made a big save.
United were struggling to create with their closest openings coming from back to back through balls from Ethan Ennis for Mather but on both occasions Everton’s keeper was quick off his line to clear off Mather’s toe.
Everton doubled their lead in the 68th minute, taking advantage of the wind with an in-swinging corner the ball was delivered to the back post with speed and Francis Okoronkko found himself open to nod home.
The visitor’s looked for a quick response with Ennis being played in down the right by Manni Norkett, but the wide angle shot flashed across the goal and was eventually blown all the way out for a throw in by the staggering winds.
The match was put to bed in the 73rd minute as Everton were allowed too much space in the box and Sherif ended the attack, scoring from six yards out.
United’s academy coach, Travis Binnion, was left unimpressed after the performance saying he thought the 3-0 scoreline was a “fair result.” He also added “the quality wasn’t there to say we deserved anything from the game.”
United: Vitek, Murray, Fredricson, Bennett (Ogunneye 79), Jurado, Oyedele, Mainoo, Moorhouse (Aljofree 63), Ennis, Mather (Berry 85), Norkett
Unused Subs: Hanbury, McAllister