After back to back defeats, Manchester United’s u18s got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Bolton.
United score after 6 minutes
United got off to a dream start when birthday boy Mats Moller Daehli scored after just 6 minutes. James Weir made a great run down the right bundling Jordan Hendrie off the ball before squaring to Daehli who hammered the ball into the roof of the net from 10 yards out. Not a bad way to celebrate your 18th birthday.
A minute later United had a chance to extend their lead when Sam Byrne and Jack Barmby found themselves 2 against one with a Bolton defender but squandered the opportunity as Byrne’s final ball was too long for Barmby.
Apart from the goal, very little happened in the first 20 minutes. United controlled the game and played some nice football without really creating much, whilst Bolton looked short of confidence after losing 4 games in a row and didn’t trouble Joel Pereira in the United goal at all.
Bolton finally created a chance on 26 minutes when Hendrie’s well struck effort was saved by Pereira. Following that Bolton should have done better when striker Tom Youngs found some space 20 yards out. He looked for Walker but failed with what should have been an easy pass for the striker.
3 dangerous corners for Bolton
Bolton created 2 chances from corners in the space of 30 seconds with both falling to the strong central defender Gibson. The first he headed into the ground taking the pace off the ball, allowing Pereira to tip it over the bar. The second glanced off his head and went wide. Just 2 minutes later Bolton got another corner and this time the ball fell to Bailey at the far post but he volleyed into the sidenetting.
With Bolton finishing the first half strongly, it was United who created the first chance of the second when Barmby found Byrne in space. The striker managed to take the ball past his man but from a very difficult angle he tried to find the far corner – but never came close to troubling Sievers in the Bolton goal.
Bolton could have equalized in the 50th minute when United were caught sleeping. United were awarded a freekick but the Bolton staff pointed to the linesman waving for an offside decision. Bolton took the resulting freekick quickly which sent Youngs through clear on goal, but under pressure from 2 defenders he toe poked his effort over. A minute later Evans completely misjudged a tackle in midfield and suddenly Newby was afforded a lot of space, but his strike flew just wide of the post.
Declan Dalley was the first player to go into the referee’s book and he could have no complaints after a late tackle that sent a Bolton player flying.
Hamer equalises for Bolton
The warning signs had been there, and within a minute Bolton drew level. A low cross found Youngs who controlled the ball and shot low towards the far post, Pereira got his hands to the ball but could only parry it into the path of Saul Hamer who tucked the rebound away from 2 yards out. No more than Bolton deserved at this point.
McConnell so close to scoring
Incredibly United didn’t restore the lead 2 minutes later when Byrne struck the ball against the foot of the post from 10 yards out. The rebound went straight to Ryan McConnell who sent the ball over from 4 yards out with the goalkeeper stranded. He had to react quickly, but he should have got that one on target.
In the next 15 minutes both teams had half-chances with Byrne going close for United on a couple of occasions, but United were losing their grip on the game so Daehli moved further down the pitch to become more involved.
United almost took the lead on 75 minutes when Barmby sent a beautiful cross into the box, Byrne arrived at the near post but Sievers was alert to keep out his header. Byrne got another chance from a Daehli cross 3 minutes later, but couldn’t get above the ball and headed over.
After missing great 2 chances – Byrne created the winner
Having gone close twice Byrne finally got the ball into the back of the net, albeit with a little assistance. Under a lot of pressure he twisted and turned and finally got a shot off. What would have ben a routine save for Sievers hit Bailey and flew past the keeper. It will go down as an owngoal, but it was no more than Byrne deserved after his hard work in the second half.
United controlled the game in the final 10 minutes not allowing Bolton to create anything, and as the referee blew the whistle United had earned their 2-1 win without really impressing.
Summary: United did just enough to win in a game where few players really impressed. Pearson and Daehli were possibly our 2 best players – while Byrne worked really hard and deserved to be involved in the winner.
1-0 Mats Daehli 6 (Weir)
1-1 Saul Hamer 58 (Youngs)
2-1 Owngoal Sam Bailey 80 (Byrne)
Manchester Utd: Joel Pereira – Ryan McConnell, Declan Dalley (Pereira 78), Callum Evans, Liam Grimshaw (c) – Mats Daehli, James Weir, Ben Pearson, Jack Rudge, Jack Barmby – Sam Byrne
Bench: Pierluigi Gollini, Matt Willock, Josh Harrop, Andreas Pereira, Ashley Fletcher
Bolton: Jan-Ole Sievers – Kieran Nolan, Robert Holding (c), Liam Gibson, Jordan Hendrie – Elliot Newby, Dylan Wolstenholme, Sam Bailey, Tom Walker – Tom Youngs, Saul Hamer
Bench: Jamie Thomas, Harry Campbell, WIll Abbotts, Aaron Knight, Carl Kennedy