U18s: United 3 Blackburn 2 – Late Keane spot-kick clinches dramatic win
Posted by nickogs20 on October 2, 2010
October 2nd 2010, 11am
Trafford Training Centre, Carrington
|Manchester United U18s||3-2||Blackburn Rovers U18s|
|Morrison 28||-||MacLaren 4|
|Pogba 76||-||O’Connor 57|
|W.Keane 90+4 (pen)|
Will Keane’s injury time penalty grabbed United all three points against Blackburn as a terrific game at Carrington ended in dramatic and controversial fashion.
United fell behind twice to goals by Jamie MacLaren and Anthony O’Connor but fought back each time, levelling through Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba to set up a tense finale. The Reds’ chances of securing a win looked to have disappeared after they had a clear penalty for a foul on John Cofie turned down in the final minute, but justice was done deep into time added on as Michele Fornasier’s volley was blocked by a hand and Keane stepped up to coolly send the keeper the wrong way with practically the last kick of the match.
The visitors took the kick-off and were instantly on the front foot, pressing United high up the field, putting real pressure on the Reds’ defence and soon taking the lead. As a long throw came in from the right and was flicked on by Tom Hitchcock, Michele Fornasier seemed tight enough to Jamie MacLaren but Rovers’ Australian forward was able to turn and get a shot away from point-blank range that beat Sam Johnstone at his near post.
United took a while to recover from that early shock as Blackburn continued to dominate, MacLaren looking the major threat as he went close with two more efforts on goal. A second goal began to look imminent as the half-hour mark approached, and the only shock when it arrived was that it went the way of Paul McGuinness’ side, very much against the run of play. Paul Pogba and Ryan Tunnicliffe linked up well in midfield and fed Ravel Morrison, who drifted past a defender before letting fly with a vicious low drive from 22 yards that flew into goalkeeper Matty Urwin’s bottom right-hand corner with the aid of a slight deflection.
Goals change games as the old cliché goes and that one did so emphatically, United spending the rest of the half very much in the ascendancy and coming agonisingly close to completely turning the game around before the break. Larnell Cole was narrowly off target with a great strike from distance before John Cofie went even closer from similar range after a powerful sixty-yard run, and then came the first of three contentious penalty decisions.
Morrison skipped past a defender on the left flank, raced into the box and was all set to either shoot or pick out a team-mate when his trailing foot was caught by the despairing lunge of defender Anthony O’Connor. Morrison stayed on his feet but an unavoidable stumble allowed Urwin to intercept and clear the danger, the referee showing no interest in penalising a clear foul. Whilst diving should never be tolerated, incidents like this are part of the reason why players go to ground in the area so easily and will continue to do so until referees learn to recognise that a player doesn’t have to have gone to ground for there to have been a foul.
After a breathless first forty-five minutes it was no surprise that the tempo dropped after the break and the game became cagier, especially after United switched off at another set piece and allowed the visitors to retake the lead. Sam Johnstone did well to parry a MacLaren shot behind for a corner, but from the ensuing dead-ball, O’Connor rose unchallenged six yards out to power home the simplest of free headers.
With the exception of a one-on-one where Keane brought a good save out of Urwin, Blackburn looked fairly comfortable and spurned a number of decent chances to extend it, the best falling to John Todd, who dragged the ball tamely wide when presented with a clear strike at goal. It was to prove costly as, almost from nowhere, United were gifted a route back into the game with a quarter of an hour remaining. Rovers made a hash of clearing the ball from their left-back position and Cole pounced, seizing possession before picking out the unmarked Pogba in the box, the Frenchman producing an impeccable curled finish to beat Urwin.
A point would have been fair reward for the efforts of both sides – perhaps even slightly flattering to United – but the Reds were given an injection of urgency by their equaliser and looked the only team likely to push on and take all three. Sub Jesse Lingard spurned the best chance to do so from open play before the second penalty flashpoint of the game looked to have ended chance of that happening. Cofie stormed into the box and was unceremoniously taken out from behind by his marker, one of the clearest fouls you could ever see. Or so Cofie, his teammates, all the spectators and even the linesman thought… everyone in fact except the referee, who signalled a corner to the absolute bemusement of everyone present.
That decision would have been debated for many hours to come had United not impressively put it to the back of their minds while pursuing a winner in the time remaining. With the clock ticking past 93 minutes, time looked to have run out for them but they scrambled one last corner. From Lingard’s deep right-wing delivery, captain Tom Thorpe headed back across goal to his centre-back partner Fornasier, who cushioned the ball before volleying at goal with his left foot. As a Blackburn defender threw himself in front of the shot, his outstretched arms made the block and this time the referee did point to the spot, handing Keane the chance to steal a win for his side right at the death. A pressure penalty for sure but you wouldn’t have known that from the composed way in which United’s #10 despatched it, finding the bottom left corner as Urwin dived right to send his teammates and the bulk of the Carrington crowd home delighted.
1. Sam Johnstone
2. Alberto Massacci
3. Tyler Blackett
4. Michele Fornasier
5. Tom Thorpe (c)
6. Ryan Tunnicliffe
7. Larnell Cole (14. Jesse Lingard 78)
8. Paul Pogba
9. John Cofie
10. Will Keane
11. Ravel Morrison
Subs not used
12. Sean McGinty
13. Liam Jacob
15. Charni Ekangamene
16. Michael Keane