Manchester United’s u18s were in action on Saturday hosting Derby County at Carrington in their last match before the all-important FA Youth Cup final on the 11th of May.
United started the match on top with Joe Hugill running the channels in the opening minutes and creating a chance for Ethan Ennis to cut in from the left but the winger’s strike sailed over the bar.
Ennis and Hugill were linking up again shortly later as Ennis played Hugill down the left for the striker to cross into the box. A well-timed interception from the defender cut out Hugill’s ball but sent it right back to him to unleash a rifled volley at goal only kept out by a phenomenal save.
Seconds later and another big chance came United’s way as Omari Forson crossed into the box for Ennis to flick towards goal from close range but couldn’t manage to slip it by the keeper.
In the 21st minute United’s throw-in from the left picked out Forson who turned at the edge of the box and looked to curl into the far corner but the keeper would parry straight into the path of Manni Norkett to tap into the open net and give United the lead.
Minutes later Forson danced inside with a step over before playing the reverse pass to Hugill on the right who shot near the side forcing the keeper to tip round for a corner.
In the 32nd Hugill split the defenders to play through Norkett on the right but his lifted effort went over the bar as he looked to catch the keeper out.
Moments later Kobbie Mainoo did well to keep the ball inbounds in the left corner before bursting by two defenders and laying it off to Ennis who side-footed wide of the left post.
The first half came to a close with the score remarkably still only 1-0 despite the fact United could have easily had many more.
The second half saw Ennis continue to be lively down the left-wing as his cross into the centre missed everyone but fell to Norkett at the back post to smash low but was denied by a De Gea esque save with the keeper’s feet.
Charlie McNeill came off the bench in the 59th minute with Sam Mather and the duo made an immediate impact.
Mainoo drove at the heart of Derby, holding off multiple tackles before laying it off to Mather who got a lucky bounce off the defender to set up McNeill for an easy tap in to double the lead.
Five minutes later, Mather was playing provider again when he turned on the edge of the box and found McNeill open on the right who tried to curl with the outside of his right boot but couldn’t get enough around it leading to a routine save for the keeper.
Roles reversed in the 84th minute when McNeill latched onto a long ball into the left channel and squared for Mather to slot home at the back post from five yards out to seal the victory.
The win brings United into third place with the season’s last match in two weeks against Nottingham Forest but not before the host the same side in the FA Youth Cup final.
United: Wooster, Lawrence, Aljofree, Jackson, Murray, Oyedele, Mainoo, Norkett (Mather 59), Forson (Collyer 59), Ennis, Hugill (McNeill 59)
Unused subs: Polakowski, Pye