Luton 1 United 2: Reserves’ impressive pre-season form continues
Posted by nickogs20 on July 29, 2009
July 28th 2009, 7.45pm
Kenilworth Road, Luton
|Luton Town||1-2||Manchester United XI|
|Hall 15||–||Brandy 1|
|–||–||Cleverley 9 (pen)|
A very decent crowd of 7,480 turned out to see Luton Town’s first team entertain Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United reserves at Kenilworth Road this evening, the Reds looking to continue an impressive start to pre-season that has seen them records wins over AFC Fylde and Rochdale and a draw with Norwich City so far. A terrific start from a depleted United XI rocked Mick Harford’s Hatters, with Febian Brandy and Tom Cleverley finding the net inside the first ten minutes to establish an early 2-0 lead, but Town centre-half Asa Hall hauled his side back into the game after quarter of an hour. A much more even contest followed and Luton’s extra experience and strength posed plenty of problems, but the United youngsters ultimately held on to pick up another creditable victory.
It was the usual suspects on the United teamsheet with one or two slight changes – Ron-Robert Zieler lined up in goal with Chester and de Laet in the middle. They were flanked by fullbacks Simpson and Gill and it must have been good for Simmo to return to a more familiar role after operating in midfield last Saturday against Norwich. Febian Brandy returned from injury so the Reds played a familiar 4:5:1 formation with Dudgeon wide on the left and anyone of Eikrem, Gray and Cleverley working down the right when they felt like it. Craig Cathcart was missing, having joined up with the first team squad in Germany.
The Reserves stayed in Norwich last Saturday night and travelled down to London on Sunday making the short journey north this morning. Whatever R&R they had certainly paid dividends as United took the lead within 45 seconds. Good work on the left by Gill and Dudgeon saw the ball find Cleverley who played a nice through ball into the path of Brandy and he slotted it past the keeper from a tight angle.
Eight minutes later United went 2-0 up when Brandy was upended in the box by Pilkington and Cleverley – taking on penalty duties after Hewson missed against Norwich on Saturday – calmly converted from the spot. Up to this point Luton had stood off the young Reds and quickly realised that if they let us play football they would be in for a mauling.
As a consequence, the Luton players – all very tall and physically strong – started to intimidate us with some very hefty tackles that saw de Laet, Cleverley and Gray all needing treatment. Their tactics paid off and they began to get more into the game. Not long after a great ball across the box by Gray was met on the half volley by Brandy and the keeper made an unbelievable save from point blank range. If this was a Premiership game then Sky Sports would be raving about it.
However, Luton promptly went up the other end and won a corner. Eikrem made a poor clearance and the Hatters pulled a goal back through Hall, although there were huge protests of offside from all the United players as he poked home Burgess’ cross-shot. Certainly from our postion behind the goal it looked offside. Nevertheless, Luton were back in the game and at half time the score remained 2-1 to United with both teams sharing equal possession.
The second half was a different story. Stewart came on for Brandy at the break and went on to the right wing. We seemed very toothless with Stewart up front on Saturday, so Solskjaer moved David Gray up front. Luton started to dominate for long periods and the United defence had to hold firm. We had a few half chances, mainly through Gray and Hewson while they also had a couple of chances cleared towards the end.
Both teams made numerous substitutions in the second half, and when Moffatt came on for Hewson, David Gray moved back into midfield.
I suppose a draw would have been a fair result, but those two early goals made all the difference.
De Laet had a good game once again but for me David Gray was Man of the Match.
Thanks to Mr MUJAC for the match report.
1. Ron-Robert Zieler
2. Danny Simpson
3. Oliver Gill (17. Reece Brown 62)
4. James Chester (c) (16. Scott Wootton 64)
5. Ritchie de Laet
6. David Gray
7. Magnus Eikrem
8. Sam Hewson (12. Scott Moffatt 83)
9. Febian Brandy (14. Cameron Stewart 46)
10. Tom Cleverley
11. Joe Dudgeon (15. Nicky Ajose 75)
Subs not used
13. Tom Heaton
Referee: P. Miller
Luton: Mark Tyler, Keith Keane (Adam Watkins 88), Shane Blackett, Asa Hall (Callum Reynolds 46), Ian Roper (Alan White 46), George Pilkington, Adam Newton (Claude Gnakpa 80), Kevin Nicholls (C, Kevin Gallen 64) Liam Hatch (Jake Howells 64), Tom Craddock, Andy Burgess.
Substitutes not used: David Wilkinson, Rossi Jarvis.