United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

United 0 City 2: Defensive lapses cost Reds dear once more

Posted by nickogs20 on December 6, 2008

Man Utd Man City
Manchester United U18s 0-2 Manchester City U18s
Ibrahim 35
Mak 39

United’s Academy side came into this morning’s derby match with their table-topping neighbours looking to bounce back from last week’s demoralising Youth Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea, but there was an unshakeable sense of deja vu at Carrington as the Reds shaded the first half only to switch off at the back and allow the Blues to score two quick goals before the interval. Goals from Abdisalam Ibrahim and Robbie Mak in the space of four minutes once again left the Reds with a mountain the climb and, despite dominating possession and having a perfectly good Ryan Tunnicliffe goal ruled out for offside, United couldn’t break down their visitors. In a game that progressively got more and more niggly, Paul McGuinness’ side were somewhat lucky to finish the game with a full compliment of players after Kiko Macheda somehow escaped a red card for an apparent headbutt.

McGuinness made three changes to the side from the game against Chelsea, the two goalscorers – Ra’vel Morrison and Danny Welbeck – making way, replaced by Cameron Stewart and Davide Petrucci, while Kenny Strickland came in for Scott Wootton in the centre of defence. With the reserves having fixtures called off left, right and centre at the minute, Corry Evans, Anton Bryan and Magnus Eikrem were included on the bench as over-age players with a view to getting them some much-needed games.

The first half was an even affair, with City showing all the organisation and physical superiority that sees them comfortably top of Premier Academy League Group C, striker Alex Nimely in particular showing they’re not lacking when it comes to flair and ability either. It was Nimely who came closest to opening the scoring early on, Ryan Tunnicliffe clearing his goalbound effort off the line. United more than matched their visitors in the first 35 minutes though and probably fashioned the better chances, Macheda going close on a couple of occasions and the unlikely figure of Kenny Strickland forcing a fine save with a rasping drive from 25 yards out.

Unfortunately, as against Chelsea, the Reds mentally appeared to be tucking into the half-time oranges and taking a breather when there were still five more minutes left before the interval, and a side of City’s quality (you don’t hear that said often…) is going to punish that lack of concentration. The breakthrough goal came from what looked like a fairly harmless lofted ball into the box, but it’s only harmless if the defenders are switched on, and on this occasion they certainly weren’t, several of them guilty of ball-watching as the Blues’ giant midfield player Abdisalam Ibrahim rose completely unchallenged to nod past a helpless Gary Woods.

If that wasn’t disappointing enough, United’s opponents followed that up with another strike in quick succession, again as happened against Chelsea. Nimely’s strike partner Robbie Mak recieved the ball 30-35 yards out with no immediate danger obvious, but the Slovakian left the over-committed Oliver Gill for dead with a neat turn before advancing on goal. With no challenge forthcoming from a shaky United defence, Mak had all the time in the world to pick his spot and fire a powerful low drive past Woods to double City’s lead.

Gill was replaced by Corry Evans at half-time as McGuinness looked to shore up the Reds’ backline, although the United rearguard wasn’t unduly tested in the second 45 as City were content to sit on their lead and keep an increasingly frustrated home side at bay. The second half could have panned out very differently had Ryan Tunnicliffe’s tap-in after a surging run from deep not been incorrectly ruled out for offside, but the longer the game wore on without United clawing something back, the less likely it looked to happen. Nick Ajose and Anton Bryan were thrown on to offer something different in attack and threatened sporadically, but the closest the game came to seeing a third goal was at the ‘wrong’ end as far as the Red half of Manchester was concerned, Nimely again seeing a shot cleared off the line after Woods was harshly penalised for supposedly handling the ball outside the area.

0-2 it finished, perhaps a harsh result on the balance of play but more to the point another harsh lesson to the Reds’ crop of young defenders on the importance of concentrating for the full ninety minutes. Macheda will also need to learn from this game after somehow escaping a red card late on – City’s Benali needlessly confronted the Italian forward after a nothing challenge and Kiko responded to the provocation, moving his head as if to butt the Blues’ defender. No contact was made but Benali went down like the proverbial sack of spuds, and we’ve seen in the past at senior level (Ronaldo at Fratton Park most notably) that intent is all that is needed to draw a red card from the referee. Surprisingly in this case, especially as the ref had a decent view, Macheda got away with only a yellow card (Benali getting one too for his pathetic simulation), but will need to learn to control his temper and not show opposition players that they can get him into trouble and put him off his game by provoking him.

1. Gary Woods
2. Ryan Tunnicliffe
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Kenny Strickland
5. Oliver Gill (16. Corry Evans 46)
6. Matt James (c)
7. Cameron Stewart (12. Nick Ajose 77)
8. Oliver Norwood
9. Federico Macheda (15. Anton Bryan 83)
10. Davide Petrucci
11. Robbie Brady

Subs not used
13. Conor Devlin
14. Magnus Eikrem

Booked: Macheda

4 Responses to “United 0 City 2: Defensive lapses cost Reds dear once more”

  1. Tone said

    What exactly did Kiko do? Bit worried bout his temper at the moment, he had a bit of a tussle a few weeks ago as well…

  2. nickogs20 said

    Went in for a pretty harmless tackle, gave away a freekick and a couple of the City players made a big deal of it and started pushing him about. Kiko confronted one of them and pretty stupidly moved his head towards him in what could easily have been construed as a headbutt, the City player went down before any contact was made at all and made a real meal of it. Ref ended up booking them both.

  3. Tone said

    So, really it’s City who should be worried about there players manners, not us? Although, he does have a temper and will have to learn that he can’t be too ‘Italian’ in English football. I am actually shocked by the amount of diving certain teams allow from their players, glad it hasn’t been too much of a problem for us, yet…

  4. nickogs20 said

    On a personal level I certainly find the way the City player acted more distasteful than someone like Kiko getting frustrated and being a bit petulant. Neither are ideal of course but the latter is down to passion and wanting to win, the former nothing more than cowardly cheating. Kiko needs to learn to cool it but I don’t see it as a massive problem with him.

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