Manchester United’s u18s had an unusual Thursday lunchtime kickoff away to Sunderland today in order to catch up on the number of cancelled matches earlier in the season.
As a result of the match being scheduled during the international break, United were without a number of their regular starters and were required to use a makeshift lineup including right back Marc Jurado playing in the heart of midfield.
The match got off to a slow start with both sides trying to find their rhythm in the opening 15 minutes.
United started to create some openings and a long free kick from Jurado into the box was misjudged by Sunderland’s keeper and dropped in the area but United were unable to capitalise on the mistake.
A chance opened up for the former Sunderland player, Joe Hugill, when Manni Norkett raced down the left wing and squared for an open Hugill on the right but his left footed shot was tame and easy for the keeper to hold onto in the end.
A poor goal kick from Sunderland led to Finley McAllister running at their backline and laying off to Omari Forson on the right to curl, but he couldn’t get enough whip on the ball and the keeper was able to palm away to safety.
In the 28th minute, Forson’s corner found Jurado running to the front post and the Spaniard’s flick on flashed across the goal and out.
Moments later Ethan Ennis tried from 25 yards out with a low driven effort to the right but the keeper got down quickly to parry out wide and out of danger.
It was minutes before the half time break when United would take the lead through the in-form Ennis. After Sunderland failed to clear, Ennis collected the ball on the left wing before cutting in and curling delightfully into the top right corner out of the keeper’s reach.
The early stages of the second half saw the two former Sunderland boys, Hugill and Logan Pye, almost connect but Pye’s pass was cut out and almost diverted into an own goal but bounced just inches wide.
Sunderland had their biggest chance of the match in the 52nd when Caden Kelly crept into the box on the left and whizzed a shot just over the crossbar.
Marcus Lawrence from the u16s made an appearance off the bench and young player’s first involvement was to pick out Forson on the edge of the box but the midfielder’s shot was straight down the middle, allowing the keeper to palm over the bar.
A rather uneventful second half came to a close with United sealing the 0-1 victory. The important win brings them into fifth place in the table with still four matches in hand on league leaders Manchester City.
United: Hanbury, Pye (Murray 61), Aljofree, Bennett, Kambwala, Ennis, McAllister (Curley 46), Jurado, Forson, Norkett (Lawrence 61), Hugill
Unused Subs: Wooster