U18s fall short in Slovak scrimmage
Posted by nickogs20 on October 29, 2010
With a three week gap between Premier Academy League fixtures, United’s U18s ventured abroad in midweek to take on the U19 side of Slovakian top flight club FK Dukla Banská Bystrica in a friendly, unfortunately finishing up on the wrong end of a 5-1 scoreline.
Banská Bystrica, Slovakia’s sixth biggest city, is located in the centre of the country on the Hron River, and in footballing terms is perhaps most notable as the birthplace of Napoli and Slovakia midfield star Marek Hamšík, a regularly-reported transfer target for the Reds. Paul McGuinness took an almost full-strength squad on the trip, with only Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba absent. Northern Irish defender Luke McCullough, who has missed the start of the season through injury, encouragingly took part in training, while a number of schoolboys also travelled, including Jack Barmby, James Wilson and Josh Harrop.
2,500 fans turned out at FK Dukla’s 10,000 capacity SNP Stadium for the game on Tuesday (October 26th), the venue’s highest attendance of the season. They witnessed the hosts race into an early 2-0 lead inside the first ten minutes with goals from Hučko and Hesek, and just when a strong Reds lineup thought they’d weathered the storm, three quick strikes from Laksík, Uškovič and Rejdovian in the first seven minutes of the second half gave the scoreline a chastening look for McGuinness’ side. Some consolation came as Will Keane found the net with ten minutes left to continue his fine run of form and get United on the scoreboard.
United lineup: Johnstone, M.Keane (Massacci 64), Fryers (McGinty 71), Fornasier, Thorpe, Hussain, Lingard, Tunnicliffe, Cofie (Blackett 48), W.Keane, Lawrence (Ekangamene 64).
An unexpected and disappointing scoreline but still great experience for the young Reds, as McGuinness told FK Dukla’s official website:
Even though we suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat against a good team, we think it did a lot for our guys because they played against more complex, faster and stronger players than they are normally used to playing. The home team demonstrated a continental style of play that is different from the English way and which our lads don’t encounter so often, and it means our boys get a lot of experience.
The U18s will spend the rest of the week in Slovakia and play a second friendly against 1.FC Tatran Prešov on Friday (Oct 29th) before returning to domestic action with a trip to Wolves next Saturday (Nov 6th).