Hull 2 United 1: Experienced Tigers too strong for Red reserves
Posted by nickogs20 on November 18, 2008
|Hull City Reserves||2-1||Manchester United Reserves|
|Windass 51||–||Stewart 90+3|
Never has the old cliché of “it was like men playing against boys” been more appropriate. A United reserve side with an average age of just 18 (oldest player – Sam Hewson, 20 in ten days time) travelled to Humberside this evening to take on a Hull City team featuring four players in their thirties and a number of others over 20 and experience definitely told. Second-half goals from Dean Windass and Ryan France put the game beyond the young Reds, who could only respond deep into injury time with a great long-range consolation effort from Cameron Stewart.
As mentioned in our preview, Ole Solskjaer was without the services of a number of players due to international commitments, which opened up opportunities for several U18 players to make the step up. Captain James Chester was partnered at the heart of defence by first year scholar Scott Wootton, with second year Cameron Stewart slotting in at right-back. Kiko Macheda, fresh from another goal for the academy at the weekend, led the line on his own, while the five-man bench were all U18s.
Elsewhere, Antonio Bryan and Magnus Eikrem took up the wide roles, with the relatively experienced trio of Tom Cleverley, Sam Hewson and Rodrigo Possebon patrolling the middle of the park. Hull meanwhile included a number of players with plenty of senior experience – 39 year-old Dean Windass, scorer of the goal that saw Hull promoted to the Premier League last season; 34 year-old former Bolton and Greece winger Stelios Giannakopoulos; 32 year-old former Birmingham and Charlton midfielder Bryan Hughes; 31 year-old ‘keeper Matt Duke; and 27 year-old midfielder Ryan France.
The first half….. well, less said about it the better really. The home side definitely had the best of things, the hugely experienced trio of Windass, Stelios and Hughes pulling all the strings and giving United’s youngsters a real test. The Greek winger in particular was causing all manner of problems and at one stage thought he had given the Tigers the lead, only to belatedly notice the linesman had raised his flag and deemed him offside before he struck past Ron-Robert Zieler in the United net. Zieler was also forced into a fine save with his feet from Windass’ volley, while he could only watch as another volley skimmed his crossbar.
The second half was comparatively full of incident, Hull instantly on the front foot again and this time only taking six minutes to grab the lead. Unsurprisingly, the goal came from the tireless Windass and was created by Stelios, the little Greek floating a terrific ball to the far post where Hull’s veteran forward had escaped Wootton and looped a header over Zieler. It was no more than the home side deserved, but it was nearly instantly cancelled out, the service-starved Macheda sparking into life at the other end and only being denied an equaliser by the faintest of touches from Duke.
That gave United confidence and, for the first time in the game, the Reds had the upper hand and surged forward in search of a way back into the game. As is so often the way, this unfortunately only led to Hull getting a killer second. Stelios was again at the heart of things, recieving the ball from France and again playing a cute ball over Wootton’s head to the back post where France met it sweetly on the volley and gave Zieler no chance.
United heads didn’t drop and they continued pressing for an equaliser, helped by the arrival of fresh legs in the form of Matty James, Davide Petrucci and Evandro Brandão. Cleverley had a half-decent penalty shout turned down, Brandão had a scuffed shot cleared off the line while the impressive Petrucci had a piledriver of a volley turned away by Duke. The Reds did eventually get on the scoresheet thanks to a great long range effort from Cameron Stewart that came through a crowd of players and left Duke completely unsighted, but with it coming in the third and final minute of stoppage time there was no chance for the Reds to push on and get an equalising goal.
Always disappointing to lose, especially to a team who went into the game propping up the Premier Reserve League North table, but the make-up of the two sides was always going to make tonight’s game a tricky one for United and, while poor performances from some players didn’t help (Hewson, Eikrem and Cleverley most notably), several of those in red shirts emerged with credit. Cameron Stewart had an excellent last half-hour once moved forward to his preferred right-wing role, James Chester was his usual solid self at the heart of an inexperienced back four, Possebon had a tidy first half before fading somewhat in the second 45 while Petrucci was a constant threat during his short time on the field, an impressive feat for a kid making his reserve debut.
The reserves’ next action is a behind-closed-doors friendly with Norwegian side Rosenborg which hopefully we’ll have news of in the next few days. Next week’s home league game against Middlesbrough is still apparently scheduled to go ahead, despite clashing with the U18s’ Youth Cup clash with Chelsea.
1. Ron-Robert Zieler
2. Cameron Stewart
3. Jimmy Derbyshire
4. Scott Wootton
5. James Chester (c)
6. Rodrigo Possebon (16. Evandro Brandão 78)
7. Magnus Eikrem (14. Matty James 66)
8. Sam Hewson
9. Federico Macheda
10. Tom Cleverley
11. Antonio Bryan (15. Davide Petrucci 70)
Subs not used
12. Kenny Strickland
13. Sam Johnstone