Manchester United u18s got their first home win of the season with a 2-0 victory over Sunderland amid the construction work at Carrington.
Coming off the back of their 7-1 victory over Sunderland’s North East rivals, Newcastle, last weekend interest was high in Paul McGuinness’ young team, however blustery conditions conspired to provide a game low on quality. McGuinness made two changes from that splendid win, with Joe Rothwell and Sam Byrne coming in for Andreas Pereira and 5 goal hero James Wilson.
Both teams struggled to get going, neither managing a shot on goal in the first 15 minutes. There was a stark lack of invention and movement from both sides, seemingly content to sit with possession in the midfield third.
Sam Byrne carved United’s first chance of the game just after the quarter hour mark as he weaved his way into Sunderland’s box with some neat close control before sliding his shot past the keeper, but just wide of the post. It was Byrne who eventually broke the deadlock in the 30th minute as a bizarre misjudged header from Sunderland’s George Honeyman in the vague direction of his keeper landed straight at Byrne’s feet in the box leaving him a simple tap in past the keeper to make it 1-0.
United continued to look the slightly stronger team for the rest of the first half, without ever really threatening to extend their lead. A chat with fellow supporters on the sidelines at halftime confirmed my opinion that no one had really stood out except for Bryne with some decent work up top, and Ben Pearson marshalling midfield.
Sunderland started the second half as the better side as Mandron powered an effort at Gollini, an unused substitute in United’s reserve game with Newcastle on Friday night, who continues to look slightly shaky in nets for the youngsters.
Much of the rest of the second half was as forgettable as most of the first. McGuinness brought Kenji Gorre and Matthew Wilkinson on for Louis Rowley and Joe Rothwell whilst Sunderland made several changes including bringing on their substitute keeper.
In the dying minutes, whilst trying to push for the equaliser, Sunderland gifted the ball to Mats Daehli, who had had a quiet game by his very high standards and raced forward and scored to double United’s advantage.
Next up for United’s youth team is a trip to Southampton next saturday.