Blackburn 0 United 4: Rampant Reds far too good for Rovers
Posted by nickogs20 on November 22, 2008
|Blackburn Rovers U18s||0-4||Manchester United U18s|
|–||–||Petrucci 3, 27|
|–||–||Brandão 79 (pen)|
United’s U18s warmed up for their huge FA Youth Cup clash with Chelsea this coming midweek with an emphatic win at Brockhall Village this morning, Blackburn being put to the sword in a storming first-half display that enabled the Reds to rest players and coast through the second forty-five minutes, with Thursday’s game firmly in mind. A well-taken brace from Davide Petrucci and skipper Matt James’ sixth goal of the season were enough to put the result beyond doubt by half-time, Evandro de Carvalho Brandão’s penalty ten minutes from time putting the icing on a particularly impressive cake.
The Youth Cup game may have been at the forefront of everyone’s thinking but Paul McGuinness’ team selection was that of a manager with eyes only on the immediate task at hand. First choice stopper Gary Woods returned in goal, Scott Wootton returned at the heart of defence while the creative core of the team – James, Petrucci, Oliver Norwood and Kiko Macheda – were all present and correct.
There was another start for Robbie Brady on the left wing, a position definitely still very much up for grabs, while the recent impressive form of schoolboys Ryan Tunnicliffe and Ra’vel Morrison earned them starts at right-back and right-wing respectively. On the Blackburn side of things, one point of interest was the inclusion in the starting lineup of former United schoolboy Michael Potts, who moved the short distance north earlier this year.
Just like last weekend against Bolton, McGuinness’ side didn’t take long to assert themselves on the game and convert their obvious superiority into a lead. The clock hadn’t yet reached three minutes when the deadlock was broken, the skipper starting the move. James found Macheda racing through the middle, and although a Rovers defender got back and managed to get a challenge in on the striker, the ball broke off Kiko to his fellow Italian Petrucci, who coolly found the far corner.
That strike was the midfielder’s first competitive goal since August’s home win against Norwich City, which of course almost inevitably leads to the old cliché of goals being like buses – we waited a while and then two came along in quick succession. In this case Petrucci had to wait just another 24 minutes to bag his second of the game and third of the campaign. Brady and Dudgeon linked up brilliantly down the left, with the result being the United left-back finding himself in behind the back four and in acres of space. Petrucci had timed his run from midfield perfectly and arrived in the six-yard box just as Dudgeon’s low centre flashed across goal – simple tap-in, 2-0.
I said last week after the Bolton game that Petrucci had probably had his best game in a United shirt, but his first-half display at Brockhall was another step up. The 17 year-old is starting to revel in his advanced midfield role behind his compatriot Macheda and seems to be coming into a rich vein of form, encouraging with the Youth Cup in mind. His obvious confidence was shown by a sublime backheel shortly after making it 2-0 that set James up to let fly from distance, forcing a fine save from Blackburn’s keeper.
The captain wasn’t to be denied for long though. James only got his name on the scoresheet twice in the whole of last season (admittedly in part down to playing a large number of his game at centre-half) but ten minutes before the interval, he took his tally for this season to treble that. Tunnicliffe, putting in a typically energetic and committed display at right-back, picked out his run from deep with a perfect through-ball that James expertly brought down before sliding it past the onrushing keeper, against the far post, along the line and against the near post before finally hitting the back of the net.
3-0 it was at half-time and, with Blackburn offering nothing at all going forward, the three points looked secure. McGuinness certainly thought so, deciding just five minutes into the second half to withdraw the Reds’ Italian duo, as attentions turned to Thursday. Cameron Stewart and Evandro Brandão were the replacements – both worked hard and sought to impress but the second half on the whole had an element of going through the motions about it. United had their chances but there was no real flow to the game, not helped by a number of niggly challenges that saw the referee dish out six yellow cards, three to each side.
United’s were accrued by Macheda (for an earlier first-half scuffle with his marker), Brady and Morrison. Brady’s came for a challenge that was over-eager rather than malicious, but it was his second such offence in the space of five minutes and McGuinness replaced the Irishman with Nicky Ajose to prevent any further problems. Morrison’s came for a similar ‘forwards tackle’, but was the only real blot on the 15 year-old’s copybook in another display where he showed all his natural footballing ability and made a strong case for a starting berth against Chelsea.
As the second half wore on, all that really remained to be seen was whether United could bag themselves another goal or two against a by-now demoralised Rovers outfit. As it turned out, just the one further goal was added to the tally, a penalty won and converted by Brandão. Recieving the ball with his back to goal, the Portuguese was manhandled by his marker as he attempted to turn and get a shot away and the referee correctly pointed to the spot. The keeper was duly sent the wrong way as Brandão picked up his second league goal of the season.
1. Gary Woods
2. Ryan Tunnicliffe
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Scott Wootton
5. Oliver Gill
6. Matt James (c)
7. Ra’vel Morrison
8. Oliver Norwood
9. Federico Macheda (16. Evandro Brandão 51)
10. Davide Petrucci (15. Cameron Stewart 51)
11. Robbie Brady (14. Nicky Ajose 61)
Booked – Macheda, Brady, Morrison