Manchester United lost in the Barclays under-21 Premier League to a 1-0 defeat by Stoke City at the AoN Training Centre.
The match was moved to Manchester United’s training ground after the recent weather prevented them playing at Moss Lane, the squad inclusion of Darren Fletcher, Wilfried Zaha and Fabio Da Silva made for an attacking line up alongside the inform William Keane.
David Moyes and Steve Round were in attendance to watch the first-half before his weekly press conference, keeping a close eye on Fletcher deep in midfield, who you would hope would be in line for a start for the first team against Stoke City in the league cup.
Manchester United were forced to make their first substitute of the game after just 4-minutes when William Keane clashed heads in midfield, bloody streaming down the right hand side of his face, a cut that looked to need stitches. Tom Lawrence replaced Keane.
It was Darren Fletcher with the first chance of the game in the 12th-minute, with a shot powered low at the goal-keeper after some good work from Tom Lawrence created the chance. United starting brightly, especially on both wings with United manager Warren Joyce doing his usual barkings from the sidelines, to get Wilfried Zaha attacking the Stoke City defence.
Just before the half-hour mark it was Zaha who had a fantastic opportunity to put Manchester United 1-0 up, great pace through the middle running past the Stoke City defence to fire a right footed shot just wide of the mark.
Ryan O’Reilly was booked after 30-minutes for Stoke City after a dangerous high footed challenge on Darren Fletcher, lucky to only be a yellow as he lost control of the ball and lunged into a challenge with Fletcher catching his shin, luckily the Scottish midfield was quick to get up.
Just before half-time Stoke City appealed for a penalty after the ball stuck Michael Keane’s left arm in the box, referee waving their claims away, was more ball to hand than any attempt to stop the progress of play from Keane.
As the wind swirled around the AoN Training Complex, the referee blew for half-time, 0-0 at the break was probably a fair result.
Stoke City pounced into the lead in the 57th-minute, a header at the near post from a corner finding the back of the net. Ben Amos slightly out positioned.
Ryan O’Reilly was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 62nd-minute after a late sliding challenge was committed against Tom Lawrence, it was a second booking waiting to happen.
With the extra man, United powered forward with various chances created with no final finish before the 75th minute mark, Barmby, Zaha and Ekangamene all with chances as the clock ticked away.
United could not find a way back into the game in the final half an hour, losing 1-0 to Stoke City at home in what was a very scrappy game all round. A good 90-minute run out for Darren Fletcher on his recovery to full match fitness.
Next up for Manchester United under-21s is an away fixture to Blackburn Rovers on 2nd December 2013.