Manchester United’s u23s took on West Ham today at a rainy Leigh Sports Village.
After a 6-0 thumping in the reverse fixture in October, the young United side came out with a point to prove.
Coming out of the blocks fast, United broke down the left wing twice in the early minutes but the balls into the box from Shola Shoretire and Alvaro Fernandez were cut out by last ditch tackles to deny the prowling D’Mani Mellor from almost certain goals.
In the 8th minute, Noam Emeran joined the action, cutting through two West Ham defenders from the right and attempted a curling effort but was unable to apply the required whip and ball sailed wide.
United’s early dominance led to taking the lead in the 12th minute, A beautifully placed through ball from Shoretire put Mellor in behind the defence and the striker was able to calmly slide the ball past the out rushing keeper.
West Ham responded from the wake up call and started to stamp their own authority on the match. The visitors equalized in the 23rd with a wonderful strike from Daniel Chesters as he curled it into the top right corner from outside the box.
Ondrej Mastny was called into question again a minute later when Sonny Perkins raced in behind Will Fish but the striker’s driven shot was kept out by Mastny’s outstretched foot.
Emeran came close again after being teed up by Charlie Savage from 20 yards but the Frenchman couldn’t find the target.
Just before the break, Emeran returned the favour on a counter attack cutting back to Savage but the Welsh midfielder dragged his shot tamely wide in the end.
The second half kicked off in similar energetic fashion which was enhanced by the half time music still blaring through the stadium. Despite the distraction, Mastny stood tall to deny Perkins again.
Mellor grabbed his second in the 60th minute to restore the lead. A ball over the top into space from Charlie Wellens found Mellor who was quickest to react and got past the defenders before finishing into the bottom right.
The high intensity of the match started to show in the final stages as multiple players from both sides dropped with cramp.
United sealed the win late in the 87th minute through another fabulous through ball from Shoretire to find the substitute Connor Stanley running in behind to finish low under the keeper.
The match ended 3-1 capping an impressive performance over a strong West Ham side who sit second in the table.
United: Mastny, Wellens, Fish, Hardley, Fernandez, Svidersky, Savage, Emeran (Stanley 77), Shoretire, Hansen-Aaroen (Iqbal 63), Mellor
Unused Subs: Vitek, Bennett, Mather