Manchester United u21s were given the rare chance to turn out at Old Trafford on Saturday as they hosted Norwich City in Premier League 2 action.
It was a treat for local fans to attend the match after their last home outing had been behind closed doors at Carrington. The match marked yet another occasion that featured no televised coverage, leaving supporters increasingly incensed.
Sam Mather created an early chance for Toby Collyer but the captain’s first touch took him out to a wide angle, allowing the keeper to deny him with a good save.
In the 11th minute, James Scanlon crossed to Mather who volleyed past the keeper, giving him no chance.
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Mather continued to threaten with a clever 1-2 down the left wing with Collyer to open the space for a strike, but his effort was down the throat of the keeper.
In the 20th minute, Mather pounced on a loose touch from the Norwich midfielder and was taken down in the process to win a free kick from 25 yards out. The 19 year old stepped up to take himself and curled an incredible effort into the top right corner.
It was all Mather on the day as he came close with another attempt outside the box before completing his hat-trick in just the 26th minute.
James Scanlon chopped inside onto his left and shot towards goal which the keeper could only parry into the path of Mather to tap in for his third.
Seconds before the half time whistle Kenneth Aboh cut in past Louis Jackson and smashed into the bottom left corner with a clinical finish to make it 3-1 going into the break.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first, it was the Sam Mather show. Just before the hour mark, Collyer spread the ball to Mather on the left side of the box for him to come inside and curl inside the far right post.
Late on in the match, Dermot Mee passed out to Tom Huddlestone under pressure who made a rare mistake with a poor looping pass back into United’s area that Norwich pounced on. It was finished by Adian Manning.
Late substitutions saw the introduction of Amir Ibragimov make his u21s debut just mere hours after making his u18s return in a convincing 4-0 win, similarly Finley McAllister featured in both matches as well.
Ultimately, Mather’s four goals were enough to secure the three points at Old Trafford and move United into ninth place in the table.
United: Mee, Nolan, Jackson, Aljofree, Murray, Huddlestone, Collyer, Hansen-Aaroen (McAllister 89), Scanlon (Missin 60), Wheatley (Ibragimov 81), Mather.
Unused subs: Myles, Mantato