Reserves: United 4 Bolton 0 – Magnificent Magnus proves a point
Posted by nickogs20 on September 23, 2010
September 23rd 2010, 7pm
Moss Lane, Altrincham
|Manchester United Reserves||4-0||Bolton Wanderers Reserves|
|Ajose 63, 69, 79|
United’s 100% record in this season’s Manchester Senior Cup continued as Nick Ajose’s quickfire second-half hattrick fired the Reds to a comfortable win over Bolton Wanderers at Moss Lane.
After a dour first forty-five minutes Ole Solskjaer’s side cut loose after the break, inspired by a magical display of playmaking from Magnus Eikrem, who was an architect in all four goals. United blew the visitors away in a 16-minute spell as Ajose continued his impressive season so far with a fine display of finishing and a first reserve treble, the equally prolific John Cofie completing the rout in injury time as he grabbed what has this season become his almost obligatory goal.
The starting lineup saw three changes from Monday’s comprehensive Lancashire Senior Cup victory over Bury. Conor Devlin took his turn in goal in place of Sam Johnstone, while injury victims Marnick Vermijl and Ravel Morrison – who both limped off at Gigg Lane – were replaced by Oliver Gill and Gabriel Obertan, the latter of whom played despite a late cameo against Scunthorpe last night. Corry Evans and captain Eikrem, unused substitutes at Glanford Park, also returned to second string duty. Meanwhile there was a familiar name on the Bolton teamsheet in the form of Liam Irwin, son of former Reds stalwart Denis.
United started brightly, the pace of Obertan, Nick Ajose, Cameron Stewart and Robbie Brady posing an immediate threat with Stewart in particular letting fly with three fierce efforts inside the first ten minutes, albeit only testing Rob Lainton in the Bolton goal just once. The best early chance fell to Ajose before the game was even a minute old, Eikrem’s ball releasing him to bear down on goal unchallenged, but unfortunately for the 18 year-old – so prolific in the early stages of the campaign – his touch took him too wide and his subsequent tame shot nestled harmlessly in Lainton’s midriff.
The remainder of the half completely failed to live up to that frenetic opening, the two teams cancelling each other out in midfield in what became quite a physical, niggly contest. Neither goalkeeper was forced into doing anything remotely strenuous and the only moment of real excitement came with Brady had a goal somewhat dubiously chalked off, the linesman ruling that the Irishman was offside when Obertan’s through-ball was played. Replays seemed to suggest that at least one defender was playing Brady onside, if not two, although in fairness the flag was up and whistle had gone long before he put the ball in the net, with the visitors’ defence and goalkeeper noticing and making little effort to intervene.
Batteries recharged by the half-time break, United started the second half in much the same way they began the first, although this time the threat on the Bolton goal was much more tangible, with several decent chances being created. Brady forced two fine saves from Lainton with a left-footed curler and then a powerful header, while Stewart should have done better when presented with a free header six yards out from a great Obertan cross. Ajose was then frustrated as he latched onto a corner at the far post but saw his shot rebound off the woodwork.
The boy from Bury wasn’t to be denied for long though, the floodgates opening over the ensuing twenty minutes as Magnus Eikrem came to the fore, Ajose the chief beneficiary. First came a deadlock-breaking curled finish from the left side of the box after a clever pass from Corry Evans, and further goals looked imminent as Eikrem hit the post with an impudent effort and Stewart rattled the bar with a fierce strike from 18 yards out.
Ajose was furious with Stewart for not passing on that occasion, but he was soon placated as his second goal arrived courtesy of a terrific ball from Eikrem and Obertan’s precise low cross – Ajose left with the simplest of finishes at the far post. He wasn’t finished either, another sumptuous pass from United’s Norwegian playmaker sending him clean through on goal and, unlike in the opening minute, he made no mistake with the finish. A 16-minute hattrick, and a great response to the disappointment of travelling with the first team squad last night but not making the bench.
Eikrem must have been even more disappointed having made the bench only to be left kicking his heels as a substitution went unused, and he could perhaps have been forgiven for going through the motions a little back in the reserve setup tonight. Not a bit of it – his second half display was outstanding. Creative, cerebral, central to everything good the Reds did, the 20 year-old sent a compelling message to the coaching staff that he shouldn’t be overlooked again.
There was still time for a fourth goal late on, and we should have known it was coming – John Cofie had been introduced as a substitute with just under twenty minutes remaining, and these days when Cofie steps onto the field of play there’s almost inevitably a goal heading his way. The 17 year-old had already lobbed over from yet another inch-perfect Eikrem pass, and the Norwegian was predictably key in what was probably the goal of the night, his neat interplay with Obertan on the edge of the area creating the opening for Cofie to let fly with a scorching effort that proved too hot for Lainton to handle as it snuck inside the near post. That was to be the last kick of the game, and with a maximum twelve points from their first four MSC games, the Reds are already on the brink of qualification for May’s final.
1. Conor Devlin
2. Reece Brown
3. Zeki Fryers
4. Corry Evans
5. Scott Wootton
6. Oliver Gill
7. Cameron Stewart (14. Ryan Tunnicliffe 72)
8. Gabriel Obertan
9. Nick Ajose (12. Etzaz Hussain 79)
10. Magnus Eikrem (c)
11. Robbie Brady (15. John Cofie 72)
Subs not used
13. Sam Johnstone
Referee: Ryan Johnson
Bolton: Lainton, Riley (Stayte 32), Blakeman, Bennett, Burns, Connolly, O’Halloran, Irwin, Eaves, Sheridan, Obadeyi.
Subs: McGeechan, Lynch, Odelusi, McGregor.