Manchester United’s u18s hosted Arsenal today in their final group stage match of the u18s Premier League Cup.
The early stages saw United heavily on top with the assistance of the wind as Arsenal struggled to get out of their zone.
In the 5th minute, Adam Berry won possession high up the pitch and threaded an inch perfect pass to James Nolan on the right who forced a save from the Arsenal keeper.
Two mins later Nolan’s relentless pressing saw him race in and nip the ball from the Arsenal keeper who recklessly kicked him down to win a penalty for United.
Manni Norkett stepped up to take and smashed into the bottom left corner to give United the early lead.
Shortly after, Maxi Oyedele looked to split the defence with a pass that was cut out by the out rushing keeper, but his clearance went straight back to Oyedele, opening the chance for a long range strike into the open net. But the United midfielder was pushed off the ball before getting his shot off.
Oyedele was in the thick of the action as he ran in and grabbed the ball off Arsenal’s Mathaeus Roberts at the edge of the box and laid off to Tyler Fredicson to shoot from 18 yards which was tipped over the bar.
In the 30th minute, Arsenal launched a rare counter attack to win a corner. Taken short, Arsenal worked the ball into the box and ran past Berry, who stretched out a leg to try recover, taking down the Arsenal man to give away a penalty. Bradley Ibrahim slotted the spot kick calmly into bottom right to draw the match level.
Arsenal had worked their way into the match in the latter stages of the first half and began to look alive in attack as Seb Ferdinand crept in behind Sam Murray and centred for Ibrahim, who couldn’t sort his feet out for a big chance missed.
United created a late chance before the break when Nolan played the ball into Norkett in the box for a quick lay off to Berry from 14 yards, but he couldn’t keep his effort down as it soared over the goal.
The half ended 1-1 with United disappointed not to have taken advantage of their dominating opening 30 minutes.
On the restart Jack Kingdon sent a long diagonal ball that got held up in the wind for Oyedele to flick onto Williams, who charged in from the left and hit the ball on the half volley with power sending it flying past the keeper to restore United’s lead.
Minutes later, Berry’s ball across the box fell to Murray coming in at the back post, but the left back couldn’t keep it down on his weaker right foot.
Arsenal equalised in the 62nd as they cut through the middle and Ethan Nwaneri got the turn on Louis Jackson to get into the box and slot past Wooster with a perfectly placed shot into the corner.
Fredricson picked out Williams with a cross field pass, who then played to the overlapping Murray who whipped a delivery across the face of goal that was begging to be tapped in.
In the 71st, Nwaneri, the youngest player to ever appear in the Premier League, picked up Kingdon’s loose pass at the half way line and ran through to the edge of the box before striking towards the right corner that Tom Wooster pushed into the net, an effort the keeper would be disappointed not to have one better with.
United looked to respond as Nolan worked his way into box on the right and played across to Berry to strike agonisingly wide after a slight deflection.
In the final few minutes, Murray overlapped Berry and crossed low past a slew of Arsenal defenders to find Williams at the back right post to side foot home and draw the match level to earn United a last minute point.
The draw would still see United finish last in their group though, having lost the opening two fixtures.
United: Wooster, Kingdon, Jackson (Musa 79), Aljofree, Murray, Fredricson, Oyedele, Nolan (Fitzgerald), Berry, Williams, Norkett
Unused subs: Hanbury, Mantato, Baumann
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