United 2 Bolton 0: Duo on the spot as reserves notch first home win
Posted by nickogs20 on February 12, 2009
|Manchester United Reserves||2-0||Bolton Wanderers Reserves|
|Fábio 27 (pen)||–||–|
|Macheda 64 (pen)||–||–|
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reserve side bagged a long overdue first home win of their FA Premier Reserve League North campaign as Bolton were brushed aside at Moss Lane this evening. A penalty in each half (converted by Fábio da Silva and Federico Macheda) was enough to ensure a thoroughly deserved three points from a game that could have been a rout had the Reds been a bit more fortunate in open play.
With several players away on international duty, team selection was even more of a dilemma for messrs Solskjaer and Joyce. Ben Foster got the nod in goal (perhaps hinting that Tomasz Kuszczak will be in nets for the first team’s trip to Derby this weekend?), while Oliver Gill stepped up from the U18s to partner stand-in captain Corry Evans at the heart of the defence.
Matt James and Rodrigo Possebon were tasked with pulling the strings in the middle of the park, while lone striker Macheda was supported in a fluid, interchangeable attacking formation by Lee Martin and two more academy starlets – Cameron Stewart and Robbie Brady.
It wasn’t to last, but Bolton started brightly and immediately forced Foster into a couple of saves, the second of those a terrific stop from Sam Sheridan’s long-range effort. The England stopper spectacularly tipped the ball onto the crossbar just as it looked as though it would dip over him, and Gill was alert enough to get to the loose ball first and avert any immediate danger.
Stung into action, United practically went straight down the other end and gave the other set of goalposts a rattling. Foster released Martin on the counter attack, and via Macheda the ball found it’s way to the feet of Possebon, whose sidefooted effort clipped the top of the bar with Trotters keeper Bogdan rooted to the spot.
The Reds seized control of the match thereafter and looked particularly threatening on the counter, so it was no surprise when one of those rapid counter-attacks led to the opening goal. Macheda’s clever backheel released James, who in turn found Stewart. The young Mancunian had Richard Eckersley storming forward on the overlap outside him and played him in, but to most of those watching it seemed as if an overhit cross by the right-back had ended the promising move. Not so – referee Amy Raynor pointed to the spot, and a second look showed that to be an excellent decision, Eckersley having been clearly felled in the split-second after dispatching his cross. His fellow full-back Fábio stepped up confidently and sent Bogdan the wrong way with his penalty.
Lee Martin thought he’d doubled the United lead in the moments before the half-time whistle, but Raynor again did well to spot a foul in the box, this time by Macheda on the covering Bolton defender. Martin didn’t have to wait too long to have a decisive impact on the match though. Solskjaer’s side had served notice of their intent to bag more goals in the early stages of the second half – Brady forcing a smart stop from Bogdan and James giving the crossbar another rattle with a terrific left-foot effort – and the decisive second goal came just after the hour mark. Martin’s pace was too hot for Wanderers’ Sinclair to handle, and when the latter lunged in on the former in the area, there was only going to be one outcome. Raynor duly pointed to the spot once more, and if Fábio’s penalty was coolly taken, the outstanding Macheda’s spot-kick was positively Arctic.
2-0, and effectively game over, Foster having been little more than a spectator since his early exertions and further United goals always looking likely. Solskjaer took the opportunity to give run-outs to three more of Paul McGuinness’ Under-18s – Davide Petrucci, Ollie Norwood and Joshua King, the latter making his debut at reserve level, and Norwood coming closest to adding a third goal for the men in red. As it was, 2-0 it ended and that was more than good enough for the United management and those in the crowd.
Man of the match was undoubtedly Macheda, the 17 year-old Italian displaying his full capabilities as a terrifically promising all-round centre-forward and thoroughly deserving his goal. Matt James was also impressive in midfield, putting in a typically energetic and purposeful showing, while Rodrigo Possebon produced something resembling his best form for the first time since his injury at the back end of last year, hopefully an encouraging sign for the future.
Wigan are next up for Solskjaer’s side, next Wednesday’s visit to Robin Park providing the second string with the chance to avenge their defeat to the Latics at the Marstons Arena back in September.
1. Ben Foster
2. Richard Eckersley
3. Fábio da Silva
4. Corry Evans (c)
5. Oliver Gill
6. Matt James
7. Cameron Stewart (15. Davide Petrucci 80)
8. Rodrigo Possebon
9. Federico Macheda (14. Oliver Norwood 86)
10. Lee Martin
11. Robbie Brady (16. Joshua King 66)
Subs not used
12. Joe Dudgeon
13. Ben Amos