United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Sunderland 1 United 0: Black Cats ride their luck to end reserves’ winning run

Posted by nickogs20 on March 3, 2009

Sunderland Man Utd
Sunderland Reserves 1-0 Manchester United Reserves
Cook 40

United’s reserve side had performed impressively for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in recent weeks, but their four-game unbeaten run – the most recent three of those victories – was always going to be put sternly to the test against table-topping Sunderland, and so it proved. The Reds started brightly and seemed to be enjoying the rare opportunity to play in a Premier League venue like the Stadium of Light, but Jordan Cook’s goal against the run of play gave the Black Cats the lead just before the break, and Northern Irish ‘keeper Trevor Carson performed heroics to keep Solskjaer’s side at bay and see his team through to a win that was essentially confirmed ten minutes from time when two bookings in the space of as many minutes saw Ritchie de Laet given his marching orders and United reduced to ten men.

Solskjaer made just three changes to the side that beat Manchester City last week, and one of those was forced on him at the last minute – Ben Amos picking up an injury in the warm-up and having to be replaced by Conor Devlin. Otherwise, the only changes were Rodrigo Possebon in for his compatriot Anderson in midfield and James Chester in for Richard Eckersley at centre-half. Chester re-claimed the captain’s armband after finishing his one month loan spell at Peterborough.

Quite how United went into half-time a goal behind will have probably mystified everyone watching. The hosts looked well-organised and dangerous on the counter but the Reds controlled possession and had all the clear-cut chances. The first of those fell to Kiko Macheda inside the first ten minutes, the Italian striker expertly controlling a lofted pass from Lee Martin before turning and curling a shot that Carson just managed to turn behind at full stretch.

It was a sign of things to come, although that shouldn’t have been unexpected – Carson has been almost as much of a nemesis for United reserve and academy forwards in the last couple of years as Brad Friedel has for those in the first team in recent times. The Northern Ireland U21 international was donning his superman cape again at the midway point in the half, producing a fine reflex stop from Ritchie de Laet after a United corner had ricocheted around the area and somehow found its way to the feet of the Belgian defender.

James Chester - unhappy return for the skipper

James Chester - unhappy return for the skipper

That said, the Reds’ best chance of the half saw Carson powerless to intervene. Unfortunately for United, and luckily for him, there was no need for him to. Zoran Tošić’s scuffed right-wing corner somehow made its way past Carson and the mass of players at the near post and sat up perfectly for Chester at the back stick, no more than 5/6 yards out. Alas, the skipper – somewhat on the stretch to be fair to him – conspired to send his half-volley over the bar.

With all these chances going begging and United not capitalising on the dominance Possebon and Matt James were holding in midfield, there was always the very real risk of the being caught out by a Black Cats’ sucker punch, and five minutes before the break that is exactly what happened. The dangerous-looking Nathan Luscombe took advantage of space down the left and then capitalised when de Laet made a dreadful hash of his attempted tackle, taking himself out of the game and picking up an injury in the process. Luscombe was left with all the time in the world to advance into the penalty area and fire across a fiendishly-directed cross that neither keeper or defence could prevent from reaching the lurking Cook at the far post.

Solskjaer’s message at half-time would have surely been ‘more of the same’ – if his side could keep asserting themselves in the manner they had for the first 45 minutes and if they could keep creating quality chances, it was surely only a matter of time before they got themselves back into the game. Unfortunately, that never quite happened. There was no lack of effort or commitment but the Reds couldn’t recapture control of the game and struggled to fashion genuine chances, more often than not finding themselves frustrated into shooting from distance.

The exception to that came just after the hour mark, where Martin and Danny Drinkwater combined to force Carson into making his best stop of the evening. Martin evaded two defenders down the left before cutting the ball back to Drinkwater, the 18 year-old instinctively controlling the ball with his right foot and immediately letting fly with his left, only being denied a terrific goal by a top-drawer point blank save from you know who.

With the final whistle approaching and frustration coming to the fore amongst the United side, the final result was all but confirmed ten minutes from time as de Laet saw red. The first booking was something of a mystery, the Belgian seemingly finding himself on the recieving end of a foul – you can only assume Ritchie said something out of turn. Whatever the reasoning, a yellow card was forthcoming, and as such there was a certain inevitability about what was going to happen when, just two minutes later, Luscombe’s run into the area was blocked off by a strange, almost head-first tackle by de Laet, who appeared to lose his balance. Clumsy and a little unfortunate certainly, but the referee wasn’t in a lenient mood and swiftly produced yellow and then red, capping a miserable night for both de Laet and, ultimately, his team.

13. Conor Devlin
2. Ritchie de Laet
3. Fábio da Silva
4. Corry Evans
5. James Chester (c)
6. Matt James (16. Robbie Brady 82)
7. Rodrigo Possebon
8. Danny Drinkwater
9. Federico Macheda
10. Lee Martin
11. Zoran Tošić (15. Cameron Stewart 63)

Subs not used
1. Ben Amos
12. Jimmy Derbyshire
14. Oliver Norwood

Booked: de Laet
Sent Off: de Laet

18 Responses to “Sunderland 1 United 0: Black Cats ride their luck to end reserves’ winning run”

  1. ga said

    petrucci when playing back? answer

  2. nickogs20 said

    No-one knows. I don’t really appreciate being demanded to ‘answer’ either if it’s all the same to you.

  3. D for Derivative said

    Saw “highlights” of this on Sky Sports News; Nick, what are your impressions of Ritchie de Laet? Looked like a poor attempt at a tackle that saw him sent off.

    Also, just wondered if you were planning to cast a weather eye over Adem Ljajic’s form at Belgrade. Technically I guess he is only on loan there. United fans will want to know whether he looks the real deal, and more importantly how we’ll pronounce his name!

  4. Tone said

    Ljajic trained with the first team yesterday and apparently scored a beautiful goal this weekend.

    The second yellow was OK, but as far as I could tell the first one was hopeless by the ref. I’ve seen a lot of people saying de Laet played bad last night, i wouldn’t go that far. He’s not super impressing or anything, but he’s not as clueless as some people seem to think.

  5. nickogs20 said

    To be honest I’ve not been impressed by de Laet so far. Far too prone to really basic errors from what I’ve seen so far, it’s hard to really identify any genuine strengths with him as well. Early days but I’d be amazed if he earns a longer-term contract unless he really steps it up several gears.

    Loads of pictures all over getty images of Ljajic at Carrington yesterday. Not sure if he scored at the weekend, was perusing Partizan’s site on Sunday and unless I read it wrong (and it was late and I’d been out celebrating another trophy…) he wasn’t the scorer of their goal against Red Star. Might be wrong though.

    It’s hard to follow his progress over there in too much detail obviously, I’m hopefully going to re-start the loan reports though so I’ll look to cover his games with Partizan and I’m hoping to get a couple of Partizan fans to provide some updates if possible.

  6. D for Derivative said

    Cheers Nick; as always, great work with the site!

  7. joaco said

    Hello,my name is joaquin, I´m from argentina and I wanna know if you know if fabio is training with the first team,because I don´t saw him playing any game.He Plays only in reserves?If you can answer me,thanks.

  8. Norries said

    I just hav to say de Laet was terrible, he shuld be held responsible the goal, even though Devlin culd hav done betta, i’ll forgive the young goalkeeper, his first appearance at the level. De laet is supposed to be a veteran amongst that youngsters, him and martin – and to be honest martin did well. I am getting to think we are jst doing antwarp a favour … What do u think Nickogs

  9. cem said

    hey nick

    what do you think of young keeper devlin?

    i honestly cant see one thing which makes the guy a good keeper and he makes alot of mistakes even at academy level, but clearly he must be high up on our keepers list seeing as hes ousted gary woods and broken into the reserves and even the northern ireland u19 set up …. im truly baffled

    also is olvier gill related to david gill? hes another one who i think is truly crap hes no were near better then scott wooton

  10. nickogs20 said

    Joaquin – Fábio’s only playing for the reserves at the moment, it’s hard for him to get first team games when we have Patrice Evra.

    Norries – de Laet is nothing to do with Antwerp anymore so there’s no ‘favour’ or anything.

    Cem – I think it’s harsh to say Devlin makes a lot of mistakes. One glaring one against Everton but I can’t think of too many others. He’s not looked particularly outstanding for sure but he’s been solid enough and he’s still got plenty of time on his side.

    Oliver Gill is David Gill’s son, yes.

  11. donar said

    nice blog..im one of your fan..

    anyway,how tosic fare in this game?

  12. Mark said

    reply to cem…

    I follow N.Ireland underage teams alot and over the past 5 years or so Devlin has been very consistant, rarely makes mistakes, always 1st choice goalkeeper, from school boy level right up to U-19s. Apparently Steve Beaglehole (U-21 manager) wants him for the u-21s but United refuse to let him as hes only 17. He is very highly rated over here.

    Give him a chance though, hes only been at the club 7 months, made 1 mistake in the academy (v Everton) and forced his way into the reserve squad. Monday night was his first competitive reserve game, and tbh, 1 or 2 misakes (dropped cross, bad clearence) but overall did ok.

    As for Ritchie De Laet, hasnt looked great has he? very quick, and can play anywhere along the back line, but i think hes only been brought in as cover, due to injuries, loans, and the likes of eckersly and chester being called into the 1st team. will probably leave in the summer.

    Oliver Gill is Davids son. Hes a decent defender tbh, big lad, good header, but sometimes gives you the willies! and always looks wrecked during games, even after 20 mins! The cause of alot of goals towards the start of the academy season (Sept/Oct)Im surprised hes in the reserves ahead of Wooton though, because from what ive seen, Wooton is far better! Probably because hes a year older than Wooton however. On that central defensive note, where has Reece Brown gone? injured?

  13. nickogs20 said

    Seems to have been injured since Oct/Nov, haven’t heard any more details about it. He’s always around at academy/reserve games so he’s definitely still at the club.

  14. Tone said

    Considering we had no goalie on the bench today, I would assume Gary Woods is either injured or out with someone else.

  15. Mark said

    Your probably right. i read on another forum Devlin picked up an injury but couldnt come off because of that. May leave us short in the goalkeeping department for the reserve games this week. Glad Zielers back!

  16. Tone said

    I’m sure Kuz or Foster will play at least one of the matches.

  17. James said

    Is Pig not injured? MUFC website had him down to play last thursday night but Zieler was in goal and Devlin was on the bench!

  18. […] than eight games on the schedule for March. While things got off to an inauspicious start with defeat to reserve champions-elect Sunderland, the Reds were in truth unluckly to lose that one and responded by going unbeaten throughout the […]

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