It was a big day for Manchester United’s u18s as they opened their FA Youth Cup campaign at Old Trafford against Scunthorpe United.
The first chance of the match came through a free kick curled in from the left and Tyler Fredricson’s glancing header bounced just wide off the far post.
In the 11th minute Manchester United carved through Scunthorpe centrally with Charlie McNeill holding up the ball and finding Alejandro Garnacho cutting in from the left but the Spaniard’s effort went over the bar.
United opened the scoring just a minute later though as Isak Hansen-Aaroen sent McNeill through 1-on-1 with the keeper. McNeill was taken out by the out- rushing keeper but the ball landed to Garnacho who was able to square and find Sam Mather to tap into the open net.
United were well on top of Scunthorpe and could have doubled their lead in the 18th minute when McNeill whipped a low ball across the 6 yard box and Garnacho came in at the back post to finish but was put off by the recovering defender and ultimately scuffed his shot.
After a quick give and go, Maxi Oyedele went on a super run gliding past two defenders and surging to the edge of Scunthorpe’s box. Unfortunately, the move broke down with the final pass trying to find McNeill who had strayed offside.
The lead was doubled in the 25th minute with one of the best goals the Old Trafford faithful will see this year. Clipped into the box by Hansen-Aaroen, McNeill one touch passed it across to Garnacho who controlled it up scored spectacularly with an acrobatic scissors kick.
The 30th minute saw Maxi Oyedele showing off his passing range with a great ball over the top for McNeill running in behind yet again. The striker fizzed a dangerous ball across the box but it evaded everyone.
It was a lovely training ground corner routine in the 35th minute with a short corner finding McNeill who turned the defender inside out and nutmegged the keeper but the ball was deflected off the post and out.
A smash and grab in the 37th minute saw Scunthorpe pull one back against the run of play. Two driven-in crosses caused some chaotic defending with the ball bouncing around after not being cleared and eventually landed to the Scunthorpe forward to drill into the net.
A resurgent Scunthorpe had United looking nervy and just holding on until the break but a last second chance opened up for Charlie McNeill running through on goal. But the keeper left out a strong foot to make the save and the rebound came to quickly for Garnacho to set his feet and the score remained 2-1 into the break.
United were back on the front foot at the start of the second half and it took only three minutes to restore the two goal lead. A cross from Marc Jurado cleared to the edge of the box only found the prowling Maxi Oyedele who was able to strike from 18 yards into the bottom left corner.
Poor keeping from Scunthorpe saw McNeill make it four in the 53rd minute as the Scunthorpe number one rushed out and got nowhere near the ball, allowing Mather to pass to McNeill for an easy dispatch into the open net.
McNeill’s celebration in front of the Scunthorpe visiting fans wasn’t to the ref’s liking and he was awarded a yellow card.
Scunthorpe kept the fight going though and pulled another back in the 62nd minute. A clever free-kick worked space down the right and the driven cross into the 6 yard box was bundled into the back of the net.
Another clever short corner routine was played in low to McNeill who swung the ball behind him towards the back post but the keeper’s stretching hand palmed it away.
Substitute Manni Norkett had a chance to put his name on the score sheet late in the game with a wide open header from a central area eight yards out, but he couldn’t generate the power to beat the keeper.
The final whistle came soon after, ending the match 4-2 for Manchester United and putting them into the next round of the FA Youth Cup where they will face Reading.
United: Vitek, Jurado, Jackson, Fredricson, Murray, Mainoo, Oyedele (Gore 67), Mather, Hansen-Aaroen, Garnacho (Ennis 76), McNeill (Norkett 82)
Unused Subs: Wooster, Kambwala, Pye