Manchester United endured a goal-less draw in very wet conditions against Sunderland in the Barclays Premier U21 League at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground.
Picture © @ashcameraman
Changes were made to the team that won against Newcastle at Moss Lane last week as Jesse Lingard and Ryan Tunnicliffe have been included in the first team squad that flew out to Cluj for the Champions League game tomorrow night.
Last season the reserve squad lost in the same fixture 6-3 on an evening in which weather conditions were really against the reds, Warren Joyce spoke to MUTV before the game:
“Last year was a shambles, I wouldn’t call it a goal-fest. Some of the goals that went in were very poor.”
“Newcastle was a good educational game and one to talk about. Last week, we talked about standards improving and getting better. People were desperate to play in the Capital One Cup but they have no divine right to play in it.”
“It’s got to be hard to play for Manchester United. I talked about people like Tom Cleverley, who made his debut for United in the cup and the journey he’s been on for years of working hard and continuing to work hard to try and improve. That’s a lesson for all these lads.”
“It’s just about retaining that hunger and desire to get better every single day not every game. You have got to improve every single day.”
Before the game Joyce was forced to change the starting eleven as Marnik Vermijl pulled up with an injury. He then handed Angelo Henriquez his full U21 debut while moving Veseli wide with Tom Thorpe slotting in at centre back alongside Fornasier.
Goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone, who was due to travel to Cluj with the first team reportedly asked Sir Alex Ferguson whether he could start for the U21s rather than travel and be third choice in Romania behind Lindegaard and De Gea, a request which the boss accepted.
Former red Nicky Butt was once again on the coaching staff along-side Joyce for United this evening, the second time in a week keeping an eye on the younger generation of Manchester United.
Sunderland themselves started the game with a strong strike force, £8 million striker Connor Wickham started alongside Ji Dong-Won, both hoping to cause the reds defence problems from the start.
Sunderland had not won at this level for 10-games, drawing 5 and losing 5 before beating Bolton Wanderers away previous.
Early pressure came from the hosts in the first quarter of the match, both Dong-won and Armstrong firing tame shots which were easily grasped by Johnstone in goal.
On the half hour mark Sunderland created another chance as Adam Reed found himself in space with the opportunity to drive a 25-yard shot which, lucky enough, was straight at Sam Johnstone who punched it away.
Just before half-time Joshua King had Manchester United’s best chance of the game after a long run found himself in the box but a weak shot direct at the Wilson in net, was saved easily enough with his legs.
Going into the break neither side had troubled opened the scoring, a very tame first half ending 0-0.
Warren Joyce made no changes at half time and began barking orders across the pitch, especially towards the strike force of Macheda, King and Henriquez with vigor.
First shot of the second half came from Angelo Henriquez in the 59th minute, a nice move in which King pitched the ball to Henriquez who took it down and turned nicely before shooting straight at the keeper.
With the weather taking a real turn for the worst just after the hour mark, Robbie Brady cut in from the left hand side to fire a 30-yard shot which was whiskers away from the post. The keeper had no chance had the shot been on target.
Just a few minutes later Brady went in to a crunching tackle with Sunderland’s Dong-won, a challenge which forced the United full back to be substituted for Tyler Blackett in the 65th minute.
Angelo Henriquez came off in the 74th minute which allowed Kiko Macheda the freedom to play up top for the final 15-minutes, with orders from Warren Joyce to “be more aggressive” passed on to his team.
Ryan Noble almost scored with his first touch for Sunderland after coming on in the 81st minute, a slight touch from Johnstone seeing the ball bounce wide for a corner. Impressive run to create space against the reds defence.
The game ended 0-0 ensuring Manchester United stay at the top of the National Group 2 Premier League with 10-points from their four opening league games.
Manchester United Starting XI:
Brady (Blackett 66′)
Henriquez (James 74′)
Subs not used: Gollini, Hendrie
Sunderland XI: Wilson, Adams, Marrs, Reed, Laing, Ferguson, Armstrong, Knott, Wickham, Dong won, Mitchell
Next U21s Match Fixture:
Southampton (H) Moss Lane
Monday 8th October 2012