Manchester United’s u21s travelled to Cumbria for the second time this season to take on Barrow AFC in the EFL trophy, having opened the competition with a win against Carlisle United.
Barrow started with a lot of pressure, winning four corners in as many minutes. Looking to impose their physicality, they crowded Nathan Bishop in the six yard box but poor deliveries allowed United to clear on each occasion.
United’s first attack came through Alejandro Garnacho’s pace down the left, ending with a dangerous ball across the goal, but no one was making the run in.
Facundo Pellistri was popping up on the right and left, darting past Barrow defenders with ease, but Bjorn Hardley couldn’t find the end product after being played in twice in quick succession.
In the 18th minute, a mistake from Dan Gore was followed by a slip by Tyler Fredricson which allowed Robbie Gotts to run past him and in sheer desperation a lunging tackle took out the Barrow winger at the edge of the box. A recovering teammate saved Fredricson from what looked a sure red card, with the ref settling on yellow.
Ten minutes later, a beautifully weighted diagonal ball from Zidane Iqbal found Garnacho who took the ball in his stride and cut in, but his shot was blocked.
In the 32nd minute, the biggest chance of the match at that point came from a cross on the right to find Barrow’s front man David Moyo, who cleverly back heeled toward the back post, forcing a good save from Bishop.
A high hoof ball eventually fell to Pellistri’s feet to drive through the middle and play through Charlie McNeill, who shrugged off the defender before striking at the keeper but the ref called play back for a foul on the defender.
Shortly after, the Barrow keeper Scott Maloney got caught playing on the ball by McNeill and the keeper panicked and pushed the youngster to the floor to give away a penalty. McNeill stepped up to the spot and dispatched into the left corner with United’s first shot on target in the 44th minute.
Half time came shortly after in what was becoming a boring match for supporters with only 1 shot on target for each side with no big chances created.
Five minutes into the second half, Rhys Bennett conceded a needless foul in the left corner. The resulting free kick was put in to the back post with pace and a shove in the back caused Fredricson to redirect the ball into his own net to level the match.
In the 71st minute, Hardley got down the left and cut back to McNeill in the box but the striker’s shot was blocked from close range.
Five minutes after, Garnacho’s footwork sent the fullback falling to his backside but the Argentinean tried too much and ran into a Barrow defender.
A long ball from a free kick at half way sent into box saw Hardley caught under it which allowed Barrow to bring the ball down and work a shot in the area but it was blocked out for a corner.
The final five minutes were action packed, with both sides coming close to taking it. Barrow almost gift United the win when a short back pass played Garnacho in through on goal, but he couldn’t beat the keeper.
Hardley then returned the favour, giving up possession at the edge of United’s area for a quick strike from Tom White from 20 yards that flashed just wide of the left post.
In the dying seconds though, Garnacho wouldn’t make the same mistake again. Tom Huddlestone won possession before perfectly placing a diagonal ball to Garnacho on the left and he raced through on goal to slot into the bottom right corner and seal the late victory for United.
The win in front of 285 visiting supporters sees United top of the group and securing advancement before the final group stage match against Fleetwood Town.
United: Bishop, Jurado, Bennett (Huddlestone 73), Fredricson, Hardley, Savage, Iqbal (Collyer 90+4), Pellistri (Forson 66), Gore (Murray 73), Garnacho, McNeill
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