Manchester United’s u23s travelled to Leicester on Monday night for league action in blustery conditions.
Leicester were on the front foot from the off with former United academy player Chris Popov turning in the box and testing Ondrej Mastny with a placed shot into the left corner that was well saved.
With Leicester controlling the opening stages, United’s first chance came in the 12th minute as Alejandro Garnacho drove into a bit of space and looked to place a low shot from 20 yards out that rolled just wide of the left post.
In the 16th minute, Leicester’s bombardment of United’s box led to the awarding of a harsh penalty. A cannon of a shot from the edge of the box smashed off of Bjorn Hardley’s arm and the ref was quick to point to the spot despite the defender having no time to dodge the ball.
Leicester’s skipper, Lewis Brunt, stepped up and slotted the penalty into the bottom left corner to give Leicester the lead.
Off the ball, Hannibal Mejbri went into the book in the 22nd minute for his far too common back talk to the referee.
The 25th minute saw Leicester’s corner kick held up in the wind a towering header crashed off the post but the whistle went for a push in the back.
Despite having the wind in the backs, United was struggling to get the ball out of their half.
Leicester doubled their lead in the 36th as they got in behind down the right and a low ball all the way across the box to the left side found Wanya Marcal-Madivadua with time and space to control and slot into the bottom right corner.
Three minutes later and Leicester struck again with a quick counter attack. Alvaro Fernandez almost cut out the initial pass but the ball broke back to Leicester and Sammy Braybrooke was teed up at the edge of the box to smash into the left corner.
After what must have been a strong half time talk from Neil Wood, United came out in the second half looking rejuvenated.
Within four minutes, United pulled one back with a bizarre goal. Noam Emeran drove down the right and switched play to Garnacho who’s cross was cleared only to Charlie Wellens at the edge of the box to strike off the left post and luck was in United’s favour as the ball bounced off Brunt and rolled into the goal.
In the 52nd minute a beautiful diagonal ball from Charlie Savage picked out Emeran marauding down the right wing before the Frenchman jinked past two defenders but couldn’t find the finish as he sliced it well wide.
The ref still wasn’t pleased with Hannibal’s dissent and issued a final warning to the midfielder and called over captain D’Mani Mellor to keep his teammate in line.
United grabbed their second in the 70th minute through Shola Shoretire. Fernandez found Hannibal inside the box and he turned and shot but it was cut out by Shoretire running into the six yard box who controlled and volleyed into the back of the net.
Soon after Dan Gore saw his introduction to the match and almost made an immediate impact striking the crossbar after Hannibal squared for him in the box.
Shoretire did well to hold off a challenge in the midfielder before slipping through Mellor on the right side but his front post shot was saved by the keeper.
Pressing for the equaliser until the end, United ultimately couldn’t find the net again and remain in fourth place.
Following the match, Neil Wood didn’t mince his words saying the players failed to follow the game pan in the first half and “individuals didn’t do their jobs properly and had no discipline.” But he was pleased with the second half response after being left frustrated and disappointed.
United: Mastny, Wellens, Fish, Hardley, Fernandez, Savage, Shoretire, Hannibal, Emeran (Gore 76), Mellor, Garnacho
Unused subs: Vitek, Jurado, Mejia, Fredricson