Home » Match report: Northern Ireland u18s 1-3 Manchester United u18s

Match report: Northern Ireland u18s 1-3 Manchester United u18s

by Colm Murphy

Manchester United’s u18s capped off their SuperCupNI showcase event last night with the second match against Northern Ireland.

United started the match quickly with a number of direct runs including Dan Gore dribbling through the midfield before being hacked down.

Sam Mather stepped up to take the free kick from 20 yards and produced a spectacular effort curling it over the wall and into the back of the net as the keeper stayed rooted on his feet to give United the early lead.

Five minutes later, Mather added his second. A ball over the top from Gore was just out of reach for Mather but some disastrous keeping saw the ball fall loose for Mather to slot into an open net to double the lead within the opening ten minutes.

In the 14th minute United almost had a third. Ruben Curley brushed off the challenge in midfield and drove forward to play through Manni Norkett but his shot was snatched wide.

Shortly after, Ethan Williams ran in behind and smashed into the back of the net but his celebrations were short lived as he was called back for a clear offside.

In the 21st minute Gore picked up the ball from a loose Northern Ireland pass and ran almost 80 yards down the pitch before sitting a defender down and smashing the ball off the post. Follow up attempts from Williams and Norkett were cleared off the line. But it was the sensational play from Gore which deserved a goal.

Jack Kingdon intercepted Northern Ireland’s keeper’s throw and found Gore who turned and shot from 25 yards but a finger tip save turned it around the post.

Northern Ireland’s first real chance came in the 41st minute from a corner but the volleyed attempt deflected off Sonny Aljofree’s back and wide.

Despite all the dominance throughout the first half, United couldn’t find a third before the break.

Northern Ireland caused some more troubled after the restart with a few balls into the box, one ending with a strike from 10 yards that was blocked well by Louis Jackson.

Lewis Trickett then came close with a sensational curling effort from range that dipped just too late and skimmed over the bar.

United hit back with a flurry of chances from Mather, Ethan Ennis and Maxi Oyedele but the keeper, Kai McLean, made three big saves in the matter of seconds.

Just before the hour mark, Northern Ireland pulled one back through Ipswich’s Rio Oudnie-Morgan. Picking up the loos ball at the half way line, he ran 30 yards before rifling it into the top corner giving United’s new signing Elyh Harrison no chance.

In the 66th minute Ennis and Mather played a give and go for Ennis to break into the box and shoot and he almost got lucky when buttery hands from the keeper allowed the ball to slip through but he recovered to keep it out.

A minute later and a world class diagonal ball over the top from Marcus Lawrence perfectly picked out Norkett’s run to take it in stride and slot it past the keeper.

Late in the match Northern Ireland got in behind and cross for Eoin Kenny open at the back post, but the son of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny was leaning back and sent it over the bar.

Ennis looked to add one late on after being slipped through by Mather with a defence-splitting pass but the winger couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball enough and sent it into the side netting.

The match finished 1-3, with an aggregate score of 3-6 for United to win the trophy raised by skipper Dan Gore.

United: Harrison, Lawrence, Aljofree, Kingdon (Jackson 46), Murray (Ogunneye 76), Curley, Gore (Oyedele 46), Williams (Mantato 82), Mather, Ennis, Norkett (Nolan 69)

Unused subs: Myles, Scanlon


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