Ayr Utd 0 United XI 1: Norwood nets winner in second leg of Scottish double-header
Posted by nickogs20 on July 26, 2011
Monday July 25th 2011, 7.30pm
Somerset Park, Ayr
|Ayr United||0-1||Manchester United XI|
Oliver Norwood capped off a worthwhile visit to Scotland for United’s Reserves with a sublime curling effort to beat a competitive Ayr United side 1-0 at Somerset Park.
After beating Spartans 7-1 twenty-four hours earlier, there where high hopes for more goals from a United side that contained experienced first team players Darron Gibson and Tomasz Kuszczak. However, Norwood’s goal on 54 minutes was all that separated the two sides.
United started brightly and passed the ball about crisply without creating any clear cut chances. The
first real chance fell to Danny Drinkwater on 12 minutes when he was played through by Davide Petrucci, only to find his prodded effort at goal deflected on to the post and out for a corner. Petrucci then turned from provider to perpetrator when a slack pass allowed Ayr to bear down on goal, and only an excellent last ditch challenge in the box by Zeki Fryers prevented United from going behind. In the throes of that attack, Tom Thorpe pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by Larnell Cole, who slotted in at right-back with Michael Keane moving to centre-back.
The reshuffle in defence seemed to unsettle United for a bit and allowed Ayr to come in to the game more. However, Drinkwater should have given United the lead on 28 minutes when, after excellent play by Gibson and Paul Pogba, he was in on goal with only the keeper to beat but hit it straight at him – given his recent goal scoring form you would have fancied him to put United 1-0 up. As the game ebbed and flowed, another gilt edged chance fell the way of Will Keane. Pogba intercepted a long cross field ball before surging up the pitch to get on the end of a raking pass from Norwood. He collected the ball and played in Keane who saw the whites of the keepers eyes but again failed to find the back of the net with the last real chance of the first half.
The raft of expected half time substitutes didn’t materialise but with the game not getting going in the second half, the ineffectual Petrucci was replaced by Jesse Lingard on 52 minutes to try and give United more width. Two minutes later United finally broke the deadlock with a delicious strike from Norwood. Pogba laid the ball off to him 25 yards from goal and he curled the ball first time in to the top corner leaving the keeper no chance. That goal alone was worth the admission fee and showed why he is so highly rated by his international manager, Nigel Worthington.
The goal sparked United in to life for 5 minutes but with Ayr working hard and often having eleven men behind the ball United couldn’t find a way through. With no real width in the team and Will Keane having the tendency to drop deep, the play became congested in the centre of the park where Ayr where quick to close down and thwart any potential danger. The game petered out with United being restricted to long range efforts from Gibson, Pogba and Norwood.
As the full time whistle blew, United were deserved winners but could bemoan poor finishing for not making the margin of victory greater. Nevertheless it was a good workout for the United boys. Paul Pogba picked up the sponsors Man of the Match award but special mentions go to Larnell Cole and Zeki Fryers who were excellent throughout. The Reserves now move on to Prenton Park where they will face Tranmere on Wednesday night at 7.30pm.
Report by Michael Higgins who you can follow on twitter @justmick32
1. Tomasz Kuszczak
2. Michael Keane
3. Sean McGinty
4. Oliver Norwood
5. Tom Thorpe (12. Larnell Cole 15 (18. Luke Giverin 88))
6. Zeki Fryers
7. Danny Drinkwater
8. Darron Gibson (17. Max Lonsdale 90)
9. Will Keane (19. Michele Fornasier 75)
10. Paul Pogba
11. Davide Petrucci (14. Jesse Lingard 52)
Subs not used
13. Liam Jacob
15. John Cofie
16. Rafael Leão
20. Sam Johnstone
Referee: C Richmond
Ayr Utd: Cuthbert; J Robertson (Donnelly 82), Malone, Smith, Campbell (Armstrong 55), Geggan (R Robertson 68), Trouten Hart 75), Burke (Tiffoney 61), Moffat (Paterson 68), Roberts (Wardlaw 76), McGowan (Shankland 75).