United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Milk Cup 2009: Winning start comes at a cost

Posted by nickogs20 on July 27, 2009

Robbie Brady’s first-half double and a fantastic late strike from Will Keane saw United get their Milk Cup defence up and running with a 3-0 win over County Antrim this evening, but boss Paul McGuinness was left counting the cost of a niggly and bruising encounter that could see him deprived of two of his key players for tomorrow’s clash with Club Cantolao of Peru.

The match, and indeed the tournament, got off to an inauspicious start for McGuinness’ side when Joshua King was forced to hobble off injured inside the first ten minutes, the Norwegian having been caught late by a poor tackle from Antrim captain Shearer. The promising John Cofie replaced him, but King had looked to be in good form in his pre-season outings for the reserves and losing him, potentially for the whole tournament, was a real blow.

Understandably the Reds took some time to settle after that, a bobbly pitch at the Ballymena Showgrounds not helping them find their rhythm at all. The niggly, physical nature of the opposition contributed to that too, and it would be fair to see there were a few nerves involved as well. Happily for United, those nerves were eased after 23 minutes when they took the lead from the penalty spot, skipper Brady picking himself up after being clumsily fouled to coolly send the goalkeeper the wrong way.

The Reds’ own keeper Sam Johnstone had to be at his best to prevent an immediate reply, plunging to his left to deny Antrim’s #1 at full stretch with a terrific save after the United rearguard had been exposed on the counter attack. Soon after however, the defending champions had some breathing space, Brady bursting into the area before firing home a fine strike to double his tally and his team’s lead.

2-0 and half an hour gone – things looked comfortable, but a moment of madness changed all that on the stroke of half-time. Tempers had been frayed for much of the half, the United players not happy with some of the tackles coming in from their opponents, understandably so it has to be said. Nonetheless, dealing with that sort of treatment is part and parcel of playing for Manchester United, and something Ravel Morrison will have to learn to do. On the recieving end of another late challenge, the 16 year-old squared up to his assailant and hands were raised. No real contact was made but there could sadly be no real complaints when the red card was shown.

Down to ten men, a tricky second half looked to be on the cards, but that never quite materialised. Antrim remained combative and worked hard but never really made their numerical advantage count – indeed, you would have been hard pushed to tell which team was a man short without going to the effort of counting. The Reds’ central midfield duo of Ryan Tunnicliffe and Etzaz Hussain grew into the game and the extra class in the United side told as they ran the clock down with relative ease, and even came up with a final flourish from the boot of Will Keane, whose last minute strike from 20 yards bore more than a slight resemblance to Michael Carrick’s second goal against Roma in that famous 7-1 win in 2007 – a wonderfully pure strike of the football.

All in all then, perhaps not the free-flowing, confident display that may have been expected from the United youngsters, but they got the job done, looked to be finding their feet second half and will be much the better for this test. They now move on to tomorrow’s decisive clash with Club Cantalao of Peru at the Coleraine Showgrounds minus the suspended Morrison and quite possibly the injured King, with Michael Ngoo and Larnell Cole – replacements today – candidates to step in. A win will see them safely through into the quarter-finals.

1. Sam Johnstone
2. Michael Keane (14. Larnell Cole 64)
3. Zeki Fryers
4. Sean McGinty
5. Tom Thorpe
6. Ryan Tunnicliffe
7. Ravel Morrison
8. Etzaz Hussain
9. Joshua King (12. John Cofie 8)
10. Will Keane
11. Robbie Brady (c) (18. Michael Ngoo 64)

Subs not used
13. James Wren
15. Jesse Lingard
16. Luke Giverin
17. Rico Gomes

Scorers: Brady 23 (pen), 30, W. Keane 70

It was a good day for the other contingent of United starlets at the Milk Cup too, as Northern Ireland trio Conor Devlin, Corry Evans and Oliver Norwood all started in a superb 3-2 victory over Germany in the Elite section. The Germany side may have been largely made up of U17s (as opposed to the U20 NI squad), but when you consider that that U17 side were crowned European Champions in May, it’s still a fine result for Steve Beaglehole’s team, who play Bulgaria in their second match on Wednesday.

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4 Responses to “Milk Cup 2009: Winning start comes at a cost”

  1. NicoQB said

    As usual great job Nickogs20!

    Dunno if its already been asked, or if the name is as common as the Smiths or the Jones, but are the young Keanes related to each other and, more importantly to the legendary no.16?

    • Max19 said

      The Keanes are related – twins (non identical) and no they’re not related to Keano – they’re English i believe.

  2. NicoQB said

    Thanks Max.


  3. […] (Samtliga länkar nedan till den utmärkta ”bloggen” United Youth.) ¤ United besegrade County Antrim med 3-0 och Club Cantolao 4-0 i gruppspelet. ¤ United besegrade sedan Deportivo Brasil på straffar i […]

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