Manchester United’s u18s took on Stoke City last night in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup in defence of their title.
United captain, Dan Gore, looked to set the tone of the match in the opening minutes as he flew into a strong challenge late and was extremely lucky to be allowed off with just a stern talking to.
The opening exchanges favoured United but the young reds couldn’t find the finishing piece in the final third.
Jack Moorhouse caught some studs to the top of his foot and had to come off on the half our mark replaced to be Adam Berry.
Late in the first half, a looped ball to the back post from Louis Jackson was headed on goal by Victor Musa straight into the keeper’s arms.
Stoke tested United with a header of their own in the 39th as Nathan Lowe dropped to the back post and rose above Sam Murray, only to be denied by Elyh Harrison.
The biggest chance of the half came in stoppage time when Ethan Williams crossed low to Musa centrally eight yards out for a sided footed effort that was blocked off the line by the defender.
Early after the break, Berry swung in a cross from the right corner of the box to find Musa free for a header at the back post but the winger couldn’t keep it on target.
Stoke would eventually be the ones to break the deadlock in the 57th minute. Josh Bickerton’s free kick at the edge of the box was smashed off the wall but unfortunately the deflection off Williams’ back sent the ball into the corner of the net away from Harrison’s reach.
Five minutes later, a great surging run from Maxi Oyedele shrugged off the challenge in midfield and opened the space for a long range effort that looked destined for the top left corner but for a fantastic save to tip it wide of the post.
In the 68th minute Gore dribbled through a pack of Stoke defenders into the box and pulled his shot wide to the near post.
Shortly after, Gore forced another save with a header from a corner that almost caught out the keeper with a deflection.
Stoke were still threatening themselves with a low driven strike that forced Harrison to save with his feet.
In the dying stages with United chasing, Oyedele sent a long ball into the box which was knocked down for Jack Kingdon, who lashed his effort over the bar as the defender found himself in a rare attacking position.
Despite their best efforts, United couldn’t pull one back and as the final whistle blew tempers flared with a melee of pushing led by the skipper, Gore.
The disappointing result sees the young reds crash out of the historical competition early, having gone all the way and lifted the trophy last season.
United: Harrison, Nolan (Lacey 85), Jackson, Aljofree, Murray, Oyedele, Gore, Williams, Moorhouse (Berry 31), Musa, Norkett (Kingdon 70)
Unused subs: Wooster, Fitzgerald, Scanlon, Munro