Reserves: Yeovil 3 United 2 – Hosts get their Way as Reds suffer second-half slump
Posted by nickogs20 on July 24, 2010
July 24th 2010, 3pm
Huish Park, Yeovil
|Yeovil Town||3-2||Manchester United XI|
|Kalala 47||–||Possebon 37|
|S.Williams 50||–||Brady 78|
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 21-game unbeaten run in pre-season fixtures came to an end as United’s Reserves suffered defeat against Yeovil Town in a benefit match for Glovers coach Darren Way.
The Reds took a slender lead into the half-time interval after Rodrigo Possebon’s second goal in as many games, but Solskjaer’s side were rocked in a five minute spell after the break as Jean-Paul Kalala, Sam Williams and Adam Virgo punished some slack defending to completely turn the game on its head. Sub Robbie Brady pulled one back to set up an entertaining finish but the home side held on, much to the delight of the 6664-strong crowd who saved their loudest cheer of the day for the last minute introduction of Way, turning out in a Yeovil shirt for the final time after his playing career was prematurely ended by serious injury.
Solskjaer continued with largely the same squad that has been involved through the previous friendlies this month, but there was one key change – the return of Craig Cathcart from injury. The Northern Irishman has been out of action since Christmas and has worked tirelessly throughout the summer to get back to full fitness, so his inclusion in the starting lineup was an encouraging sign. He slotted in at centre-back alongside Oliver Gill, with James Chester shifting to right-back to continue his own return from injury. Meanwhile the substitutes bench was slightly depleted, with Sam Johnstone and Will Keane returning to the academy fold ready for next week’s Northern Ireland Milk Cup.
United started the brighter – albeit while having an early scare as Dean Bowditch struck the bar for the hosts – with Ravel Morrison looking a real threat and going the closest to handing the Reds an early lead when heading just over from Ollie Norwood’s pinpoint cross. The Glovers gradually gained a foothold in the match however, to the extent that when the Reds did snatch the lead on 37 minutes, it was arguably against the run of play. The goal came from Rodrigo Possebon, who had been quiet up to that point but sprung into life to drill a low strike through a crowd of defenders after skipper Magnus Eikrem had sent across a low centre that the Yeovil defence couldn’t deal with.
Solskjaer’s side were energised by the goal and pushed forward in search of further reward, Possebon, Joe Dudgeon and Cameron Stewart all going close to doubling the lead before referee Marriner inconsiderately killed off the Reds’ momentum by blowing his whistle for half-time. When roughly fifteen minutes later (with Robbie Brady replacing Possebon for the second half) he blew once more to get proceedings back underway, what was to follow could scarcely have been more in contrast with those final first half moments.
It would be a disservice to the home side to entirely put the ensuing events down to poor defending, but for the Yeovil equaliser the Reds at the very least loaded the gun, allowing Kalala to run unchallenged from midfield before beating Conor Devlin with a sweet strike from distance. For the next two goals that saw the Glovers race into an unlikely lead, the United rearguard full-on shot themselves in the foot. Two corners in the space of two minutes were dealt with terribly, allowing first Sam Williams and then Adam Virgo to nip in and head past Devlin from close range. Three Yeovil goals in six breathless minutes after the break – you can’t help but think the Reds couldn’t have fared much worse if they’d just not bothered returning to the field after their half-time cuppa.
United set about attempting to scramble up the mountain they had left themselves to climb, with the game becoming increasingly scrappy and disjointed as the usual raft of substitutions came into play. Ultimately it was perhaps those changes that helped the Reds get back into the game, a sextuple substitution from Yeovil boss Terry Skiverton maybe unsettling his side and allowing Brady to first force a corner and then dispatch a well-struck half-volley from the resultant set piece.
Morrison had the best of the chances to secure a draw and preserve Solskjaer’s long unbeaten pre-season record but there was to be no raining on the Huish Park crowd’s parade, especially as the occasion’s main man Darren Way was introduced on 89 minutes to a standing ovation from all corners of the ground, a fitting end to an enjoyable day. A narrow defeat to useful League One opposition is far from disastrous, especially in the context of pre-season, and the costly sloppy spell at the start of the second half should serve to concentrate minds on games to come, starting with trips to face Oxford United and St Johnstone over the next seven days.
1. Conor Devlin
2. James Chester
3. Joe Dudgeon
4. Rodrigo Possebon (16. Robbie Brady 46 (17. Jesse Lingard 84))
5. Craig Cathcart
6. Oliver Gill
7. Cameron Stewart (14. Nicky Ajose 73)
8. Ravel Morrison
9. Joshua King
10. Magnus Eikrem (c)
11. Oliver Norwood (15. Ryan Tunnicliffe 65)
Subs Not Used
12. Scott Wootton
Yeovil: Sullivan, Alcock (Hutchins 75), Jones (Way 89), Huntington (Virgo 46), A.Williams (McAllister 75), Ayling (Upson 75), S.Williams (Matthews 75), Bowditch (Calvert 75), Freeman (Skiverton 87), Stam (Guyett 75), Kalala (Gibson 75).
Referee: Andre Marriner