Manchester United’s u21 side’s inability to score goals this season again proved costly as a number of chances went begging in a 1-0 loss to Wolves last night.
In a mixture of rain and sun at The Bucks Head in Telford, United were the better side and deserved more than they got, with Ryan Tunnicliffe having United’s best attempt on goal when he struck the crossbar in the first half.
United created the first chance of the game after 10 minutes when Tyler Blackett and Ryan Tunnicliffe combined down the right to set up Adnan Januzaj, but his effort was turned around the post for a corner. On the night Tunnicliffe and Januzaj were our best two players, and were responsible for almost everything United created.
Wolves had their moments in the game’s opening stanza and the lively Zeli Ismael came close just minutes later when he went on a mazy run down the left hand side, but his effort from a tight angle flew high and wide of the near post.
Jakobsson and Tunnicliffe with one big chance each
In a space of 5 minutes, both teams spurned good chances to take the lead. Tim Jakobsson found himself in space inside the box, but luckily for United, hammered his shot straight at Amos who punched the ball straight up into the air before collecting the rebound. Tunnicliffe then cut in nicely from the right before unleashing a shot with his left foot that struck the crossbar with keeper Cotman stranded.
As United started to dominate the game, Wolves tried to compensate by being physical and Januzaj especially found himself on the wrong end of a couple of stern challenges.
As the break drew near Wolves came on strong and created more chances with Ismael latching onto Winnall’s pass before firing into the side netting on the turn from a very difficult angle. Then Winnall forced Amos into an athletic save after powering a header at goal from a cross from the left.
The break allowed United to gather themselves and they started the second half strongly. Once again Ryan Tunnicliffe was very much involved. He went on a typically determined run before sending in a low cross that the Wolves skipper Ihiekwe did well to clear at the near post.
Tunnicliffe with another good chance
Ten minutes later Tunnicliffe once again broke but the combined efforts of Ihiekwe and goalkeeper Cotman once again kept Tunnicliffe from scoring.
United continued to dominate, and Charni Ekangamene played the pass of the game when he superbly found Jesse Lingard. Lingard looked certain to have a clear run at goal, but a combination of a poor first touch and a push in the back from Cranston made sure it only ended with a freekick just outside the box, that was unfortunately fired harmlessly in the wall by Januzaj.
With 10 minutes left to play United had another great chance to break the deadlock when Januzaj picked up Lingard’s clever pass, and sent in a low cross but Blackett failed to just get a foot onto it.
This very much summed up United’s problems at this level, with no recognised striker amongst the ranks for large parts of the season to lead the line and put the ball into the net.
Wolves grab a late winner
The game looked certain to end with a 0-0 draw but when Wolves won a corner on 86 minutes and the ball dropped in the area, Tom Thorpe hesitated and allowed Sam Whittall to poke the ball home from 3 yards out.
United pushed forward in the dying minutes, but didn’t come closer than a couple of corners, sealing a win for the Midlands side and leaving United having to beat West Brom on Tuesday in order to qualify for the semi finals of the competition..
Manchester United: Ben Amos – Reece James, Michele Fornasier, Tom Thorpe, Marnick Vermijl – Jesse Lingard, Charni Ekangamene, Tyler Blackett (Lawrence 81), Ryan Tunnicliffe, Larnell Cole – Adnan Januzaj
Subs: Tom Lawrence, Joel Pereira, Luke McCullough, Luke Hendrie, Gyliano van Velzen
Wolves: Aljaz Cotman – Jordan Cranston, Michael Ihiekwe, Jamie Tank, Jamie Reckford – Sam Whittall, Lee Evans, Jack Price, Tim Jakobsson (Robbie Parry 53) – Zeli Ismail – Sam Winnall
1-0 Sam Whittall 86