United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Crewe 2 United 3: Dream return for Galbraith as U18s return to winning ways

Posted by nickogs20 on March 7, 2009

Crewe Alexandra Man Utd
Crewe Alexandra U18s 2-3 Manchester United U18s
Titchiner 26, 62 Brandão 16
Tunnicliffe 50
Galbraith 85

After successive defeats to Manchester City and Stoke, United U18s re-found their form to pick up their eighth win in eleven away matches this season and avenge their loss to today’s opponents Crewe at Carrington back in October. The Reds left it late but undeniably deserved all three points at Alexandra Park, and the way in which they were secured was particularly pleasing, Danny Galbraith marking his return from hellish injury problems by scoring the winner five minutes from time. United had earlier taken the lead twice through goals from Evandro Brandão and Ryan Tunnicliffe, only to be pegged back both times by strikes from Crewe striker Alex Titchiner.

Paul McGuinness’ starting lineup was almost dictated to him by the high number of injuries currently affecting the players available to him, other players also being missing through suspension and due to other commitments. The eleven that took the field was relatively strong, boasting first-choice players like Conor Devlin, Joe Dudgeon, Scott Wootton, Cameron Stewart and captain Ollie Norwood as well as regulars Nicky Ajose, Kenny Strickland, Chris Curran, Brandão and Tunnicliffe, but there was a debut for U16 centre-back Zeki Fryers at the heart of the defence, and the three-man bench featured no goalkeeper, two players McGuinness ideally didn’t want to press into action (Oliver Gill and Robbie Brady, still recovering from reserve duty less than 48 hours earlier) and overage player Galbraith, looking for his first action in a United shirt since the BlueStars tournament last May.

What was noticeable from the start was just how different a game this was to the U18s’ last outing, a dour clash that saw a physically superior Stoke side snatch a goal on the counter and then park the bus. Here at Alexandra Park it was immediately evident that we had two sides who wanted to play football and to attack, and who were capable of doing so in a manner that would entertain those watching in person or on television. This led to a thoroughly watchable encounter right from the off.

Evandro Brandão - smart volley gave the Reds an early lead

Evandro Brandao - smart volley gave the Reds an early lead

United’s early attacking intent was summed up by early strikes from full-backs Strickland and Dudgeon which forced Crewe keeper Daniel Platt into fine saves. Norwood’s typically expansive passing was regularly bringing Stewart and Curran into the game from wide positions while Brandão was proving his usual handful up front. At the other end, the Manchester-born duo of Ben Marshall and Matt Lund were looking every bit as dangerous as they did at Carrington.

Nonetheless, it was the Reds (donning the white away strip) who drew first blood, Lund inadvertantly providing the assist. Norwood’s cleverly-flighted throughball forced Lund to intervene, but in glancing the ball away from the lurking Tunnicliffe he only succeeded in diverting the ball into the path of Brandão, who produced a piece of brilliantly opportunistic finishing to flash a volley past Platt with the outside of his right foot – a trademark strike from the young Portuguese, all about instinct.

Just about a deserved lead on the balance of play, but the hosts weren’t deterred. Devlin had to be alert to claim a couple of dangerous crosses, but there was little he could do to prevent Crewe drawing level ten minutes after Brandão’s opener. The United back four were holding a high line, generally successfully, but the excellent Marshall – who was on United’s books until the age of 13 – floated a terrific ball over the head of Fryers and right into the stride of Alex Titchiner, the home side’s top goalscorer making no mistake with what was a routine but composed finish.

United continued to just about edge things but the final ball wasn’t quite coming off, and it was Crewe who came closest to taking a lead into the interval. Lund went close somewhat fortuitously with a cross-shot that was deflected onto the post, but there was no doubting the intention behind his header shortly after, an effort that thudded against the woodwork with a fair bit more conviction but thankfully, from a United point of view, ultimately went harmlessly behind.

Half-time saw both coaches keep their teams on the field for their team-talks, a decision that I’m sure went down well with all the players on a chilly Cheshire morning. No changes where forthcoming from Paul McGuinness, perhaps understandable given the lack of options available to him, but nevertheless that decision was vinidicated five minutes after the restart as his side regained the lead.

Brandão played in Ajose on the left and Platt made the mistake of trying to beat the United striker to the ball. Ajose duly skipped past the blond keeper and floated a cross to the far post where Tunnicliffe rose well to head towards goal, only to see one of three Crewe defenders back on the line stretch to clear. No matter – the Reds #8 was quickest to react and slammed a volley past the despairing trio.

Danny Galbraith - the perfect return from his injury hell

Danny Galbraith - the perfect return from his injury hell

Deserved reward for an impressive start to the second period but again, Crewe had no intention of throwing in the towel. The Reds’ backline were served ample warning of the threat posed by the home side when a throughball saw Titchiner get to the ball before the onrushing Devlin – luckily for the young Irish keeper Scott Wootton was on hand to get back and prevent the ball trickling over the line, and the home side’s calls for a penalty (Devlin had floored Titchiner as he arrived late) were waved away. A few minutes later, no such luck. Titchiner again was in behind the defence and Devlin – perhaps wary of making contact with the striker after the earlier incident – lacked conviction in his attempt to collect at the forward’s feet, allowing Titchiner to skip around him and slot the ball into the unguarded net.

All to play for in the last half hour then, and McGuinness took the opportunity to make the only real change available to him. Fryers was withdrawn, prompting a rejig that saw Strickland move inside to centre-half, Stewart slot in at right-back and Ajose move to the left wing from his central attacking role, which was taken up by the incoming Danny Galbraith. A great moment for the young Scot, who has spent the past ten months on the sidelines through injury and must have been wondering whether he’d get to ever pull the United shirt on again for a competitive match.

Chances came and went for the Reds – Stewart being denied by a fine block after a brilliant run from deep, Curran headed into the side-netting… the ball just wouldn’t break right and as the clock ticked inexorably towards ninety minutes, a draw looked the most likely outcome. Right on cue, Norwood’s perfect lofted through-ball with the outside of the boot found Galbraith, his brilliantly composed lob found the net, United had a lead and we had a terrific story – the Galashiels youngster’s first competitive goal since September 2006, his first of any kind since a pair at the BlueStars and all within twenty minutes of returning from such an injury nightmare.

All that was left to do for McGuinness’ side was to play out the remaining minutes against a Crewe side who this time, finally, were well and truly vanquished. They did so without any problems, securing a hard-earned and deserved three points, plenty of smiles on the faces of those in white as they left the pitch – none bigger than Danny Galbraith’s. Credit must go to Crewe, undoubtedly one of the best footballing sides United have come up against at this level all season, and three points each from two really enjoyable games this campaign seems like a fair return.

1. Conor Devlin
2. Kenny Strickland
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Zeki Fryers (15. Daniel Galbraith 66)
5. Scott Wootton
6. Oliver Norwood (c)
7. Chris Curran
8. Ryan Tunnicliffe
9. Evandro Brandão
10. Nicky Ajose
11. Cameron Stewart

Subs not used
12. Oliver Gill
14. Robbie Brady

Booked: Norwood

22 Responses to “Crewe 2 United 3: Dream return for Galbraith as U18s return to winning ways”

  1. ga said

    but what happened to petrucci and Macheda? why not play? answer

  2. nickogs20 said


  3. I assume they’ve been saved for the bench for today’s game with Welbeck and Tevez set to start one of them could be on the bench alongside Rooney?

    Personally, I’d love to see Macheda a chance in the first team, even if its only for a few minutes at the end.

  4. Feed the Goat said

    How sad,finally winning one in three against the mighty Crewe.
    Noticed your absence again in this years FA Youth cup but guess you are used to it by now.
    No chance of catching the Golden Boy Blues in the league either.
    Guess you have to make the most out of very little.

  5. Tone said

    Macheda is suspended from reserve football, maybe they want to teach him a lesson, calm him down a bit. Besides, he is effectively the only striker at reserve level now, shouldn’t be playing in the academy anymore, give someone else a chance.

  6. nickogs20 said

    Indeed FTG, however will we cope? :(

    I’m not sure we could have played Macheda today if we’d wanted to Tone, although I might have read the rules wrong. As I understand it he has to sit out all football until the first-team have played three games from the start date of his suspension (4/3/09), which would rule him out of both reserve games this week and next week’s academy game I guess.

  7. cem said

    hey again nick how are you

    didnt one of out players from academy i think it may have been strickland, go on loan/work experience to preston nothend?? strange deal i was just wondering if you could elaborate


  8. Marcus said

    Why didn`t Josh King or Etzaz H play?

  9. Mark said

    Josh King must have been injured. MUTV showed the bench and he was there but not stripped out.

  10. nickogs20 said

    Cem – Strickland went on trial at Preston and one other club that slips my memory at the moment (WBA perhaps?), and also played a match for Weymouth last week – he’ll be leaving the club in the summer so he’s free to seek a new one and take part in trials/work experience, but as none of those clubs have so far made firm offers he’s still training and playing with us to keep fit and in the swing of things. Same goes for Derbyshire, Bryan and Woods.

    Marcus – like Mark said, King’s got an injury I think. Etzaz played for the U16s and is doing very well for them.

  11. Tone said

    I read the rules as sitting out till the reserves had played 3 games, as your way didn’t even strike me. If they’re true, think how many matches he would have missed right now if we only played first team matches at the weekends… Seems a silly rule if that’s the case. Yes, players need to learn from their mistakes, but at this level matches are so important to them.

  12. nickogs20 said

    That was what I thought originally, but on thefa.com’s list of suspended players, next to Kiko’s name it says “Suspended from all football until the Club have completed 3 first team matches for a Sending Off in a match played on 18/02/2009”.

    http://www.thefa.com/TheFA/Disciplinary/SuspensionLists/ (click the plus sign next to Kiko’s entry).

    Also, the from FA’s disciplinary procedures (CONCERNING FIELD OFFENCES in Non-First Team Matches, p275) on the same site:

    A player who is dismissed from the Field of Play for Violent Conduct, Serious Foul Play or spitting at an opponent or any other person whether he has previously been cautioned in the match or not, will be suspended automatically from all domestic League, League Cup, FA Challenge Cup, FA Challenge Trophy, Football League Trophy, Play-off matches and all Non First Team Matches commencing on the 14th day following the match in which he was sent off and until such time as his Club’s recognised First Team has completed three matches in approved Competitions during the period covered by its opening match in The FA Premier League, The Football League and The Football Conference (National) and ending with the final match in which the Club is playing in a domestic Competition organised by The Football Association, The FA Premier League. The Football League or The Football Conference (National).”

  13. ga said

    petrucci also was disqualified?

  14. cem said

    wow im actually shocked, i was quite impressed with strickland and woods shame realy, i can see why bryan and derbyshire are getting released, is there anyone else leaving or bieng released??

  15. nickogs20 said

    I think Galbraith might be released as well, although I guess he might have the chance to earn himself another year if he can get regular games under his belt and do well.

    I suspect there’ll be a few more let go or moved on as well, not heard anything concrete though.

  16. cem said

    thats an even bigger shock, i swear we forked out quite a bit for galbraith? arent u suprised about gary woods and strickland especialy as there both the same age as me

  17. nickogs20 said

    £50k for Galbraith.

    From what I’ve heard about Woods, it’s as much his decision to leave as it is ours to let him go. Lots of keepers ahead of him at the club, probably doesn’t see a future here – he’s been on trial at WBA and Tranmere amongst other places.

    Strickland doesn’t especially surprise me, hard to see a future for him here either.

  18. Tone said

    So, that means Kiko is out for another two matches? Seems harsh, that a sending off in the reserves that would only give three matches at professional level, gives him four at reserve level…

  19. nickogs20 said

    It does seem harsh, although I can sort of see the logic.

    Assuming I’ve interpreted those rules correctly, he’ll miss the Liverpool game and the Wolves academy game.

  20. revolter said

    did Zeki Fryers play well?

  21. nickogs20 said

    He was caught out a bit for the first goal (although it was a very good pass), he did alright otherwise given it was his first u18 game.

  22. […] soon see him featuring for the U18s, whose inconsistent form continued throughout March, with another dramatic late win, this time against Crewe the highlight, especially with Danny Galbraith scoring the winner in his first game back after ten […]

Leave a Reply to nickogs20 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: