United 1 City 0: Reds complete clean sweep over City to reach MSC final
Posted by nickogs20 on March 9, 2009
|Manchester City Reserves||0-1||Manchester United Reserves|
|–||–||Martin 35 (pen)|
They put three past them back in October, two past them at the back end of last month and tonight, just one goal was enough to earn United’s reserves victory over their Manchester City counterparts for a third time this season, earning themselves a place in the final of this season’s Manchester Senior Cup in the process. The defending champions went into tonight’s rain-lashed clash at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields ground knowing that a win would secure qualification to the final. Lee Martin’s first-half strike and a resolute performance from a makeshift defence duly secured the necessary result and set up a repeat of last season’s MSC final – Manchester United vs Bolton Wanderers.
The continued absence of Kiko Macheda through suspension forced coach Ole Solskjaer to continue with a somewhat unorthodox attacking lineup, Lee Martin leading the line with Zoran Tošić and Danny Drinkwater supporting from wide. Darron Gibson added some first-team experience to the centre of midfield, while Corry Evans continued to captain the side from the heart of the defence in the absence of James Chester.
After two fairly comprehensive defeats at the hands of United this season, Glyn Hodges’ City side were always going to be desperate to gain a measure of revenge and prevent a Red clean sweep of the reserve fixtures between the two Manchester clubs this season. That resolve added to the usual frenetic nature of a derby match, plenty of commitment on show in the opening exchanges but little opportunity for anyone to provide a moment of quality.
McDermott went closest early on for the Blues with a well-struck effort from distance, but in truth Ron-Robert Zieler wasn’t overly peturbed as it flew over his crossbar. England keeper Joe Hart had more cause for concern just after the half-hour mark when Martin skipped around him and slotted home, only for an offside flag to come to his rescue. Five minutes later, he wasn’t so fortunate – Martin was again sent clean through – this time by a pinpoint through-ball from Rodrigo Possebon – and the 22 year-old repeated the trick, rounding Hart and calmly finding the net to give United the lead.
The Blues cranked up the pressure in the second half, knowing that a defeat would end their own slim hopes of qualifying for the final. Striker David Ball rattled Zieler’s post with the young German well beaten, and giant centre-half Clayton McDonald nearly wreaked havoc when pressed forward as an emergency centre-forward late on, Evans making one vital goalline clearance to deny the City defender.
The Reds were grateful to hear the final whistle, the 1-0 win perhaps a tad flattering but an impressive result nonetheless given the personnel Solskjaer was forced to do without. Three wins and two penalty shoot-out defeats in the competition leaves United with a total of 11 points from the group stage, one point less than table-toppers Bolton but two points clear of third-placed Oldham, who have also completed their fixtures. City, Bury and Stockport all have games to play but are now unable to catch the Reds, ensuring the second string will meet Bolton in the final once again, most likely in May.
1. Ron-Robert Zieler
2. Ritchie de Laet
3. Robbie Brady
4. Corry Evans (c)
5. Oliver Gill
6. Matt James
7. Rodrigo Possebon
8. Danny Drinkwater
9. Darron Gibson (12. Joe Dudgeon 46)
10. Lee Martin
11. Zoran Tošić (14. Oliver Norwood 75)
Subs not used
13. Gary Woods
15. Cameron Stewart
16. Daniel Galbraith
Booked: Drinkwater, de Laet
City: Hart, Obeng, McGivern, Mee, McDonald, Kay, Tsiaklis (Smith 72), Clayton, Ball, Moore (Poole 63), McDermott.
Unused Subs: Brown, Johansen, Cieslewicz.
Referee: C Kavanagh