Academy Semi-Final Preview: Last Time Out
Posted by nickogs20 on May 6, 2010
With the regional structure of academy football in England it’s not often that United and Arsenal meet at this level, and indeed you have to go back to April 2007 for the last encounter between the two sides. It was quite some game though…
The occasion was the FA Youth Cup Semi-Final second leg at Old Trafford on April 2nd 2007, with the Reds trailing 1-0 from the first meeting at the Emirates thanks to Kieran Gibbs’ vicious second-half strike.
The two coaches, United’s Paul McGuinness and Arsenal’s Steve Bould, were the same as they are today, but as goes without saying, the personnel on the field was very different. The two teams lined up as below:
United: Ben Amos, Corry Evans, Richard Eckersley, James Chester, Craig Cathcart, Danny Drinkwater, Danny Welbeck, Sam Hewson, Febian Brandy, Chris Fagan, Danny Galbraith.
Substitutes: Ron-Robert Zieler, James Derbyshire, Kenny Strickland, Scott Moffatt, Antonio Bryan.
Arsenal: Lee Butcher, Abu Ogogo, Gavin Hoyte, Paul Rodgers, Rene Steer, James Dunne, Fran Merida Perez, Mark Randall, Kieran Gibbs, Jay Simpson, Nacer Barazite.
Substitues: Wojciech Szczesny (GK), Carl Parisio, Rui Fonte, Henri Lansbury, Rhys Murphy.
United suffered an early blow when Ben Amos was forced off by injury and struggled to contain an Arsenal side who picked up where they left off in the first leg. The game remained goalless at half-time but the Gunners soon converted their superiority into a lead after the break, Gibbs again with the goal. 2-0 down on aggregate, McGuinness’ side were staring down the barrel, but they weren’t done yet.
Chris Fagan’s tap-in after a Sam Hewson freekick had caused chaos in the Arsenal box gave the Reds and a bumper Old Trafford crowd hope, and in classic United style, deep into injury time, substitute Antonio Bryan met Danny Welbeck’s clever pass with the sweetest of strikes to put his side 2-1 up and send the game into extra time.
A demoralised Arsenal did well to rally and once again seize the advantage through Rhys Murphy, but United never ceded the momentum gained from that injury time goal and roared back once more in the second period of extra time to draw level again through Febian Brandy. Then, with a penalty shootout looking like being needed to separate the two teams, the impressive 16 year-old Welbeck popped up in the box to glance home Danny Galbraith’s wicked left-wing cross and send his euphoric side into the FA Youth Cup Final.
A sensational game, one that still sticks in the memory even now – you can see the highlights in the video below. If we get half as good a match at Carrington tomorrow we’ll all be hugely entertained.