Manchester United’s u18s were well worth their win this afternoon as Sam Byrne’s brace saw them beat Southampton 3-0.
After a quiet start Gregory Ariyibi created the first chance of the game when he tried to find the bottom corner from the edge of the area, but Pierluigi Gollini had no problems saving the shot.
Southampton dominated the game early on, and seemed to manage the strong winds better than their hosts. Sam Byrne was given very little support early on and United were constantly being pushed back. Left back Callum Evans struggled specially, with the lively Ariyibi winning a few freekicks from him early on.
Pereira gives United the lead after good work from Byrne
But Southampton’s dominance counted for nothing because completely against the run of play, United took the lead. Byrne fought his way into the box against 2 defenders and got off a decent shot that Johns only could parry and Andreas Pereira was on hand to stab home the rebound from 6 yards out.
Southampton inches away from equalising
Southampton almost equalised minutes later when United’s defence were caught napping from a quick free-kick and Seager chipped the ball over Gollini. It seemed the visitors were about to draw level but Paddy McNair raced back and hooked the ball over his head, and off the line. The Southampton players were screaming at the referee claiming the ball was over the line but their protests fell on deaf ears. Jack Barmby was given a yellow card seconds later after he wrestled an opponent to the ground, sparking a mini brawl.
United were forced into making a change after only 27 minutes when James Weir left the pitch to be replaced by Mats Moller Daehli.
Very little happened in the last 15 minutes of the first half. Southampton marginally the better side whilst United struggled with the strong winds and over hit many of their passes. Southampton played well and also were physically stronger, but United defended well when required.
United made a substitution at half-time with Evans was replaced with the bright Nicholas Ioannou. Whilst Evans struggled initially, he improved as the game progressed and probably felt an injury.
United created the first chance of the second half when Pereira, Rudge and Daehli combined to draw a good save from Johns.Pereira and Rudge showed good feet in a crowded box before laying it out to Daehli on the right. Pereira met his low cross at the near post, but Johns kept the Belgian at bay.
United created another decent chance when Daehli found some space on the right and set up Barmby, but he curled his effort over the bar from the edge of the area.
Southampton could have found themselves in serious trouble as United nicked the ball in midfield, it would have been 5 vs 3 but luckily the referee blew after Gape lost the ball cheaply, awarding them a freekick.
Barmby sets up Byrne for goal number 2
Sam Byrne went close after Ioannou won the ball in midfield and stormed forward before setting up Byrne but his shot took a deflection, going just wide. This was United’s best period in the game and the pressure eventually paid off as United extended their lead.
Jack Barmby found some space down the left and produced a sublime cross. Sam Byrne arrived at the near post, jumped early and headed the ball into the roof of the net from 5 yards out. United were pulling away and made a change to keep things fresh, with the assist being Barmby’s last contribution to the game as he was immediately replaced with James Wilson.
Southampton had been very quiet in the second half but finally created a decent chance on 72 minutes when Reed did well to put in a quality cross. The tall Gallagher won in the air, but placed his header just wide of the post.
Sam Byrne with a cracker to make it 3-0 for United
With 77 minutes played, Sam Byrne produced the moment of the match as he scored an absolute stunning goal. Daehli picked up a loose ball in midfield and set Byrne running down the left. He picked up the ball, advanced into the box and then curled the ball superbly into the top far corner.
His second of the game essentially wrapped up the game for United.
There were a couple of half chances for each side in the last 15 minutes of the game, but United control the game and after a very strong second half, deservedly won 3-0.
Gollini, Daehli, Pearson and Pereira all played really well but Byrne was by far the best player on the pitch.
Manchester United: Pierluigi Gollini, Donald Love, Paddy McNair, Liam Grimshaw (C), Callum Evans (Ioannou 46) – James Weir (Daehli 28), Ben Pearson, Jack Rudge, Jack Barmby (Wilson 65)- Andreas Pereira – Sam Byrne
Subs: Ioannou, Sutherland, Wilson, Fletcher, Daehli
Southampton: Chris Johns, Tom Legget, Bevis Mugabe, Jason McCarthy, Fraser Colmer – Omar Rowe (Jake Hesketh 60), Harrison Reed, Dominic Gape (Niall Mason 72), Gregory Ariybi (Josh Simms 65) – Sam Gallagher, Ryan Seager
Manchester United – Southampton 3-0 (1-0)
1-0 Andreas Pereira 24 (Byrne)
2-0 Sam Byrne 63 (Barmby)
3-0 Sam Byrne 77 (Daehli)