Manchester United u18s kicked off their season away to Middlesbrough in what were wet and windy conditions.
In just the second minute, Jack Moorhouse looked to race down the left but was mercilessly taken out by a hard challenge which was awarded a yellow card but could have easily been red.
A minute later, the flying challenges continued as the Middlesbrough keeper, Shea Connor, took out Ethan Williams to earn United a penalty. James Nolan stepped up and smashed past the keeper to give United the early lead.
James Scanlon was then taken down on the right wing to earn United a free kick on a dangerous area. The delivery came to the back post for Reece Munro but the defender couldn’t keep it down, sending it over the bar.
Just after the 10 minute mark, Middlesbrough got hold of possession and crossed to the front post that was flicked on by their captain but it went narrowly wide of the near post.
In the 20th minute, Williams’ corner was bundled in at the back post from a combination of Munro and the Middlesbrough defender.
Later in the half, a lightning quick counter attack from United started with Jayce Fitzgerald, who went to Victor Musa. The England U16 international cleverly laid off to Scanlon on the right, who centred to Moorhouse and then out to Williams on the left to lash home a spectacular team goal.
United weren’t done there though and made it 0-4 moments before the break. Another fantastic corner delivery from Williams found Louis Jackson rising to head home.
Into the second half, a Williams free kick from 25 yards out forced a full stretch save from Connor to knock it around for a corner.
Williams then cut in from the left into the box on his right foot and the Middlesbrough defender took all of Williams and the ball, which the ref waved on.
In the 75th minute, Middlesbrough’s Finley Cartwright attempted a curler from 20 yards but there wasn’t enough bend on it as it sailed wide left.
Late in the match Zach Baumann laid off to Scanlon on the left, who went for a placed finish that was parried back to Baumann. But the substitute couldn’t keep his shot down and sent it over the bar.
Into injury time, Scanlon cut in from the left and curled towards the top right corner, but was denied by a top save.
Ultimately United couldn’t further add to their lead but the first half display led by Ethan Williams was enough to easily secure the three points on the opening matchday of the season.
United: Myles, Ogunneye (Kamason 46), Munro, Jackson, Nolan, McAllister, Fitzgerald (Baumann 73), Scanlon, Moorhouse (Missin 61), Williams (Devaney 73), Musa (Biancheri 61)