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Old 19-08-2019, 12:24 AM   #1
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Post Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20



UNITED UNDER-23S MAINTAIN A PERFECT START

Manchester United’s Under-23s continued our encouraging start to the season with a hard-earned 2-0 win over Reading at Leigh Sports Village Stadium on Friday evening.

D’Mani Mellor scored the first goal early on and James Garner clinched the points close to the end to give us our third win on the bounce in all competitions.

It was more than a trifle premature to describe this match as a top-of-the-table clash, but with United defeating West Bromwich Albion 5-0 and Reading netting half-a-dozen goals without reply against Newcastle United in the opening fixtures, it was certainly a meeting of the first-day pacesetters in Premier League 2 Division 2.

Leaden skies provided the backdrop for this game and the prediction of rain in the area proved to be extremely accurate, but that did nothing to dampen the fans’ enthusiasm with a good number inside Leigh Sports Village in time for kick-off.

United were looking to extend the winning start to the season to three matches, having launched the campaign with a 2-0 away win over Rotherham United in the Leasing.com Trophy.

And that mission was given an early boost when, after a brief spell of pressure, Mellor found a route into Jokull Andresson’s net; our no.9 drilled home an accurate finish to give the Reds a 12th-minute lead.

A good representation from the club's wider coaching staff were watching from the stands and they were no doubt well pleased with the positive way Neil Wood’s lads were approaching the game.

Reading weren’t short of attacking ideas either, getting forward whenever they could, but United goalkeeper Matej Kovar and his defence were doing sterling work in keeping to a minimum the visitors’ scoring opportunities.

Jordan Holsgrove had possibly the best chance to put his side on level terms, when Reading were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Reds' area but Kovar comfortably plucked the ball out of the air.

We were forced into making a change to our personnel in the 36th minute, when Luca Ercolani replaced Ethan Laird after the injured defender had been helped to leave the field.

It had been something of a bruising first half with several of our players, including Largie Ramazani, Arnau Puigmal and, of course, Laird requiring a visit from physiotherapist Tom Hughes.

Reading opened the second half with wind in their sails and our defence were forced to batten down the hatches as the Royals pressed for an equaliser.

At the other end, United went close to extending our lead when Brandon Williams’ cross found Di’Shon Bernard unmarked but the central defender was narrowly unable to convert the chance.

As the game approached its final stages, the balance of play was pretty well even with ‘keepers Kovar and Andresson both being kept busy.

Then, with thirteen minutes left on the clock, United doubled the advantage with a great finish from midfielder James Garner, his third goal in two league games.

By any standards, three straight wins and a trio of clean sheets represents a good start to the season.

United: Kovar, Laird (Ercolani 36), O’Connor, Bernard, Williams; Levitt, Galbraith, Garner; Puigmal, Mellor, Ramazani.

Substitutes not used: Fojticek, Traore, McGhee, Elanga.

Scorers: Mellor 12, Garner 77.

Attendance: 1,586.

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Old 24-08-2019, 07:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20

UNITED UNDER-23S TRIUMPH AGAIN ON TYNESIDE

Manchester United Under-23s’ storming start to the season was extended on Friday night, courtesy of an impressive victory over Newcastle United in front of 904 spectators at St James’ Park.

We have now won our opening four games at this level, but it wasn’t just the two goals from Tahith Chong and one each from Largie Ramazani and James Garner that caught the eye; it was also the style and commitment that ran like a thread through the entire team.

There can be little doubt that the future looks encouraging and that if this admittedly early form is maintained, we will be in with a terrific chance of gaining promotion back to the top division of Premier League 2 in the months ahead.

In keeping with all home fixtures at Gallowgate, the teams emerged from the tunnel to the rousing strains of Dire Straits’ ‘Going Home’ from the film Local Hero, a tune composed by celebrity Magpies fan Mark Knopfler, who was born in Glasgow but raised on Tyneside.

St James’ Park is without question one of football’s great arenas and even with the vast stands sparsely populated it is still marvellously atmospheric and it provided a wonderful experience for the players of both teams.

Last season’s corresponding fixtures between these two sides produced ten goals and a couple of remarkable results. The Magpies took the points with a 4-1 win at Leigh before the Reds gained more than adequate revenge later in the campaign, winning 5-0 at St James’ Park.

Neil Wood’s team started this game on the back of three straight wins in Premier League 2 and the Leasing.com Trophy, scoring nine goals without reply.

Newcastle, by stark contrast, had failed to win either of their opening two league matches against Reading and West Ham United, losing 6-0 and 2-1 respectively.

And that was reflected, to some degree, straight from the kick-off as the Reds took the game to the hosts.

Garner blazed an early shot over the bar while Chong threatened to open his under-23 scoring account for the season.

Dylan Levitt, who scored our final goal in the 5-0 rout over West Bromwich Albion two weeks ago, tried without success to find the back of Jake Turner’s net.

Newcastle gradually gained a foothold in the game but their improvement was halted in the 38th minute when Brandon Williams and D’Mani Mellor combined to tee up Chong who rifled home a left-foot shot.

The Reds taking the lead didn’t really come as a shock, but few would have predicted that within two minutes we would have doubled the lead.

The home side hadn’t really had time to regroup after conceding the first goal when Ramazani weaved his way past the Magpies’ defence, after taking a pass from Levitt, before firing past ‘keeper Turner.

The visitors began to pile up the chances, with Turner’s fine save thwarting Garner and Williams narrowly missing the target in the very next minute.

The Reds were now looking supremely confident and it was only a matter of time before the score was added to and sure enough, on the hour, Chong received a pass from Williams before lashing home his second goal of the evening.

Garner rounded off the scoring and a highly commendable night for his side when he cracked the ball home from the edge of the area with six minutes remaining.

MATCH DETAILS

United:
Kovář, O’Connor, Ercolani (Traore 65), Mengi, Williams; Garner, Galbraith (Puigmal 65), Levitt; Ramazani (Elanga 76), Mellor, Chong.

Substitutes not used: Woolston, McGhee.

Scorers: Chong 38, 60; Ramazani 40, Garner 84.

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Old 31-08-2019, 07:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20

RAMAZANI EXTENDS UNBEATEN UNDER-23S START

United’s Under-23 looked destined to be defeated for the first time in Premier League 2 at Old Trafford on Friday evening, but a late goal from Largie Ramazani salvaged a point against West Ham in the nick of time.

The draw meant that Neil Wood’s team remain at the top of the table, but we were forced to battle all the way against an accomplished Hammers side.

Angel Gomes gave United the lead, but goals from Nathan Holland and Anthony Scully turned the game in favour of the visitors until Ramazani’s rescue act in the last minute.

Both teams approached this fixture with virtually unblemished records from their opening three outings.

Three wins on the bounce for United and West Ham saw them making the early running with the Reds holding top spot purely by possessing a superior goal difference.

Second-team fixtures are rarely staged at Old Trafford these days so it ranks as a special occasion for the players, as a taster for what might become a regular occurrence at some point in the near future.

It also provides a great opportunity for families with young children to come along and sample the matchday experience in relaxed surroundings.

There were plenty of youngsters in the crowd for this game, and it was not too long before they had a reason to cheer.

Winning games breeds confidence and self-belief, which both teams were soon exhibiting in a lively opening to the game.

It has to be said that the Reds made more of their chances in front of goal, with Anthony Elanga, Aliou Traore, Angel Gomes and Largie Ramazani all hitting fierce drives that were either fielded by Hammers ‘keeper Joseph Anang or squirmed the wrong side of the frame.

United were certainly in a threatening mood and, in the 19th minute, skipper Gomes finally got his calculations right with an angled drive that was well out of Anang’s reach.

It was the team’s 12th league goal of the season without reply to further underline the positive start to the campaign.

United were deserving of taking the lead but West Ham, as they have already shown this season, are no soft touch and their gradual improvement bore fruit just before half-time when Dan Kemp found team-mate Nathan Holland on the edge of United’s area, and he wasted no time in firing a low shot through a forest of United defenders.

The equaliser really gave the visitors a boost and they could easily have gone in at the break leading after going very close to scoring again with their very next attack.

And they carried that momentum over to the second half, embarking on a series of forays into United territory that saw them go close to taking the lead more than once.

The Hammers were definitely enjoying the better of proceedings, and that was confirmed with eight minutes remaining on the clock when Ben Johnson’s cross found Anthony Scully at the far post, who was charged with the simple task of tapping the ball into Paul Woolston’s net.

But there was a further twist in the tale still to come. United responded strongly, as if affronted by the very idea of defeat, and drew their reward in the penultimate minute of normal time.

An incisive pass from Galbraith in midfield found McGhee, who worked the ball wide towards Traore on the right. The French youth international slipped in overlapping full-back Lee O’Connor, who picked out Ramazani in the centre of the penalty area.

The forward stooped and anchored a well-directed header to the right of the despairing Anang, sparking joy among the healthy Old Trafford crowd and extending United's unbeaten start to the season to five matches.

United: Woolston, O’Connor, Mengi, Ercolani, Williams; Gomes (McGhee 80), Galbraith, Levitt, Ramazani, Elanga, Traore.

Substitutes not used:
Devine, Fojticek, Hoogewerf, McCann.

Scorers: Gomes 19, Ramazani 89.

Attendance: 4,528

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Old 15-09-2019, 12:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20



UNITED'S UNDER-23S WIN AFTER DRAMATIC FINALE

Manchester United's Under-23s secured the three points against Fulham at Leigh Sports Village, thanks to Dylan Levitt scoring the only goal of the game in the 85th minute, and Matej Kovar saving a penalty in stoppage time.

Both teams finished with 10 men as the two captains - Jaydn Mundle-Smith and Brandon Williams were sent off in the second half. Levitt broke the deadlock but a debatable spot-kick handed Timmy Abraham the chance to level the scores at the death. However, Kovar was the hero with a super stop.

Will Fish made his Under-23s bow at the heart of the defence and both he and Teden Mengi impressed from the outset, with some powerful challenges in front of Patrice Evra in the crowd.

James Garner, who has been in excellent form this term but missed out on the Premier League 2 Player of the Month award to Chelsea's Billy Gilmour, clipped an effort over the top but may have held his breath when the ball deflected off him at the other end and drifted narrowly wide of Kovar's left-hand post for a corner.

Anthony Elanga switched flanks to cut in dangerously from the right but ended up being crowded out at the crucial moment, with his shot blocked well. Williams raced onto an Elanga pass but could not pick Garner out in the middle, but the Cottagers also remained a threat with Mengi making a vital interception to deny Sonny Hilton.

United looked certain to score just past the half-hour mark but spurned two glorious chances. Firstly, Elanga was left clean through and went past keeper Luca Ashby-Hammond but ended up firing over the top when off balance. Seconds later, Williams drove through again from right-back but fired his effort just the wrong side of the far post as things opened up for him.

Hilton swept wide from a Ryan De Havilland pass at the other end but the Reds finished the half stronger. Ethan Galbraith's venomous drive brought the best out of Ashby-Hammond and the highly rated keeper also held on to a Levitt strike in stoppage time.

Jayden Harris's shot took a double deflection before going out for a goal kick and Kovar had to go down to clutch a Martell Taylor-Crossdale attempt as the Londoners looked for the breakthrough.

A flare-up between Williams and Taylor-Crossdale, off the ball, showed the increasing intensity of the occasion as both teams upped the tempo. Largie Ramazani drifted a shot wide and Garner dragged off target from outside the box as the Reds began to make progress again in the opposing half.

Dion McGhee, playing at left-back, was unable to shake off an injury with Mark Helm on for his debut at this level.

Seconds after Harris was inches away from opening the scoring with a near-post effort, the visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute, when Mundle-Smith launched into a reckless tackle on Ramazani and was shown a red card.

After the sending off, United completely dominated and kept trying to find a way through the massed ranks in Fulham's defence.

Substitute Helm and Levitt were thwarted by Ashby-Hammond and Ramazani lashed over the top when Williams released D'Mani Mellor into the channel with a fine pass. Williams then had a penalty shout that was turned down when he charged into the area.

With time running out, Helm arrived late in the box but was unable to apply the finishing touch. From the next attack, Ramazani dribbled past a couple of defenders and teed up Levitt for a relaxed, rolled finish into the bottom corner of the net with five minutes remaining.

Garner could have made the points safe a couple of minutes later but was unable to convert the rebound when Levitt's shot was pushed out by Ashby-Hammond. Instead, Williams received a second yellow card for a trip and the visitors managed to earn a dubious penalty when Abraham, brother of Chelsea's Tammy, went down under minimal pressure from Elanga. Abraham stepped up to take responsibility himself but Kovar dived to his left to save and Garner cleared the loose ball.

The hard-fought victory keeps Neil Wood's team top of the Premier League 2 Division 2 table, with 13 points from our first five matches.

United: Kovar; Williams (c), Mengi, Fish, McGhee (Helm 62); Garner, Levitt; Ramazani, Galbraith, Elanga; Mellor. Substitutes: Woolston, Hockenhull, Wellens, Hoogewerf.

NEXT UP

The Under-23s' next outing is a week on Monday (23 September), away to Aston Villa. It is set to be shown live on MUTV.

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Old 29-09-2019, 09:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20



UNDER-23S GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS

Manchester United's Under-23s got back to winning ways with a 2-0 home victory over Norwich City at Leigh Sports Village.

After Monday's 4-1 defeat to Aston Villa, a first loss of the campaign, there were still a number of younger faces in the side but Lee Grant kept goal for his first appearance of 2019/20. Di'Shon Bernard was cleared to play after his early red card against the Midlanders was overturned.

James Garner and Largie Ramazani, from the penalty spot, scored their fifth goals of the term in a commanding display by the Reds, who also hit the woodwork and had a goal harshly disallowed.

Grant was soon into action, making a fine catch from a corner, as the Canaries started on the front foot, with their high-tempo pressing unsettling Neil Wood's side. Rob Nizet was a threat from left-back for a team with real height in its ranks but United gradually began to apply pressure, with Louis Lomas forced to make a good interception to thwart one promising move and Arnau Puignmal whipping a free-kick wide after Ramazani was chopped down by Akin Famewo.

Gassan Ahadme was almost in the clear for the visitors, only for Teden Mengi to recover and display his defensive prowess, while Nizet dragged wastefully wide on the half-hour mark after cutting inside right-back Puigmal. Although Isak Thorvaldsson forced a save out of Grant, most of the chances then started falling the Reds' way as the half wore on.

Aliou Traore's neat footwork led to a shot from an improbable angle by the Frenchman that hit a combination of post and keeper Archie Mair and bounced out for a corner. Ramazani then fired straight at Mair when Dion McGhee headed the ball into his path after Garner's free-kick struck the wall.

The pressure told, though, when Anthony Elanga burst down the left and fed full-back Reece Devine, who cut it back accurately for Garner to calmly pass the ball home in style.

The lead looked to have been doubled on the stroke of half-time but Ramazani's tap-in was ruled out, presumably for a foul by Bernard on Mair as the pair simply collided when trying to get to a McGhee free-kick from the right.

United were indebted to Grant in the opening minute of the second half after a mistake by Mengi led to the ball being worked to Ahadme, and the striker felt his shot was on its way in, until the 36-year-old keeper thrust out a hand to brilliantly tip it around the post.

The Canaries had their tails up with Josh Martin's belting drive skimming Grant's left-hand upright, but the home side dug in and replied with efforts from Garner, ambitiously from inside the centre-circle when spotting Mair off his line, and Ramazani, who got a stinging shot on target following a brilliant break forward by Traore.

With an hour gone, Ahadme's exquisite touch allowed him to move past Garner but his attempt squirted off Mengi and harmlessly drifted through to Grant. Tom Scully then crashed a decent free-kick wide with Grant flying across his goal.

Substitute Mark Helm fed Elanga in the 67th minute and the left-winger accelerated past two defenders to draw a foul out of Jordan Thomas. Ramazani took the responsibility and sent Mair the wrong way from the spot, before celebrating acrobatically.

Elanga continued to give his marker Thomas a difficult time but one rampaging solo run unfortunately ended with a finish that was comfortably held by Mair. The keeper was more severely tested by a bobbling drive from Traore, that he pushed away, and the former Aberdeen stopper also beat out a powerful shot by Ramazani.

Thomas was guilty of a crude foul on Elanga that earned a yellow card in the dying seconds after the wide man showed off his pace again but he was able to continue.

So it was a case of three points, a clean sheet and United replacing West Ham at the top of the Premier League 2 Division 2 table on a good night's work in Leigh.

United: Grant; Puigmal, Mengi, Bernard, Devine; Garner, Traore; McGhee (Helm 64), Galbraith, Elanga; Ramazani.

Substitutes not used: Kovar, Fish, Wellens, Hoogewerf.

Scorers: Garner 41, Ramazani 68 (pen).

NEXT UP

Neil Wood's squad have a Leasing.com Trophy fixture, against Lincoln City's senior side at Sincil Bank, on Tuesday night with a 19:45 BST kick-off. The action is live on MUTV.
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Old 17-12-2019, 06:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20

U23S: REDS WRAP UP THE YEAR WITH ROYALS ROUT

Manchester United Under-23s brought down the curtain on a terrific first half of our Premier League 2 Division Two season by beating Reading 4-1 at Madejski Stadium on Monday evening.

Arnau Puigmal, Aliou Traore, Tahith Chong and Dillon Hoogewerf scored the goals as the Reds garnered another three points, while Adam Liddle found the net for the Berkshire club.

The Reds went into this fixture on the back of a six-game winning streak and were hoping to catapult into another victory in a bid to keep pace with West Ham United, the league leaders. In fact, the Hammers are United’s next opponents at this level - with just a single point separating them, the teams will meet on Monday 6 January 2020 at the home ground of Dagenham & Redbridge.

Reading’s season so far has been something of a mixed bag of results but they gave United some early notice that league positions could count for little as both Josh Barrett and Michael Olise put Matej Kovar's goal under threat in the opening moments.

United weathered that early storm and it wasn’t long before the action at the other end was thick and fast. Both Chong and Traore started to slip into gear and with an extra modicum of accuracy with their shooting, they could have both got onto the scoresheet.

Just before the half-hour mark, Traore was in need of attention from the medics after a clash of heads with Royals defender Roberto Nditi left him prone on the ground. Happily, both players were cleared to continue with the requirement for substitutes unnecessary.

Any concerns that the United bench may have harboured regarding Traore’s fitness were soon dispelled when, having beaten two Reading players, he set off on a sprint down the left wing which must have stretched to more than fifty yards.

Both teams were having their moments as they sought to make the breakthrough and with five minutes of the first half to go that privilege fell to United. Ethan Laird won the ball out on the right and, after exchanging passes with Chong, he overlapped and wasted no time in picking out Puigmal in the middle. The Spanish youngster completed an excellent flowing attack with a fine finish past Royals keeper Jokull Andresson.

It would be fair to say that it was just about a deserved lead for the Reds but the home side weren’t about to dwell on their misfortune and three minutes into added time, their striker Liddle nodded home the leveller from close range.

The excitement of the closing first-half minutes was sustained after the restart with both teams, Chong for United and Reading’s Ryan East, striking the woodwork.

Reading picked up the gauntlet as the game moved towards the hour-mark and Kovar's goal was under almost constant threat. But, as so often happens when a team is under pressure, they counter with a rapid surge upfield and that’s exactly what occurred in the 64th minute, when Chong set-up team-mate Traore to blast United back into the lead.

The hosts could barely believe what had happened because they had looked odds-on to be the next team to score again. And Reading’s troubles were not over for barely three minutes later, the Reds increased the advantage when Chong snapped up a short clearance from Andresson before curling his shot past the hapless custodian.

The icing on the Christmas cake was provided when Dillon Hoogwerf, the two-goal hero of Friday's FA Youth Cup win over Lincoln City, swept in the fourth goal after a stirring run through the centre of the pitch by his Under-18 team-mate and fellow substitute Hannibal Mejbri.

MATCH DETAILS

United:
Kovar; Laird, Taylor (Fish 81), Bernard, Mengi; Galbraith, Helm (Mejbri 75), Puigmal; Chong, Ramazani (Hoogewerf 46), Traore.

Substitutes not used: Carney, McCann.

Goals: United - Puigmal 40, Traore 64, Chong 67, Hoogewerf 90 | Reading - Liddle 45+3.

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Old 11-01-2020, 06:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20



UNDER-23S DEFEAT MAGPIES ON NIGHT OF POSITIVES

It was a case of normal service being resumed as Manchester United’s Under-23s collected maximum points after defeating Newcastle United 2–1 at Leigh Sports Village Stadium on Friday evening.

United were two goals to the good at the break courtesy of a Jude Swailes own-goal and a James Garner thunderbolt but the visitors produced a strong finish to score in the last minute of normal time through Elliot Anderson.

The Reds were back in action just four days after the trip to face league leaders West Ham United in Dagenham. That game, of course, ended in defeat for Neil Wood’s charges for the first time since September and also the first time we had failed to score all season.

Despite the setback against the Hammers, United remain firmly in the shake-up for promotion at the season’s close (perhaps via the play-offs) and were relishing this opportunity to get back to winning ways.

United included Eric Bailly and Tim Fosu-Mensah, both back after recovering from injury, in the side which, having been announced earlier in the day, surely persuaded some supporters leave the warmth of home to take in the game. The hosts certainly hit the ground running and could easily have been in front as early as the seventh minute when Aliou Traore was one-on-one with Newcastle keeper Jake Turner but he couldn’t make the most of the opening.

The Reds were looking hungry for goals and, in the 15th minute, we took a rather fortuitous lead when Teden Mengi’s shot deflected off Magpies defender Swailes before wrong-footing Turner and nestling in the back of the net. If there was more than a hint of luck attached the opening goal nobody could possibly claim that when, eight minutes later, Garner blasted the second in off a post after being teed up superbly by Hannibal Mejbri.

This was looking more like the free-scoring Reds following that barren journey south on Monday and there was almost another to add when Arnau Puigmal’s angled drive thumped against the far post.

With half-time closing in United had a couple of let-offs when skipper Elias Sorensen had a goalbound shot hooked away by Di’Shon Bernard and, moments later, Ludwig Francillette’s header hit the woodwork.

The half-time break did nothing to alter United’s appetite for goals and it was only a finger-tip save from keeper Turner prevented Fosu-Mensah from increasing the advantage, after a surging run from inside his own half led to the opportunity on the break.

The pace of the game was maintained throughout the second spell but the action in front of goal couldn’t quite match the first 45 minutes. Having said that, Newcastle enjoyed an encouraging last few minutes and their hopes were raised when Anderson found the net, but they couldn’t complete the fightback in the moments that remained.

Jacob Carney showed his agility in the Reds' goal, pulling off a few smart stops, to help Wood's team get over the line to close the gap again on leaders West Ham at the top of the table.

United:
Carney; Laird, Bailly (Devine 61), Bernard, Mengi; Fosu-Mensah (Levitt 58), Garner; Puigmal, Mejbri, Traore; Mellor.

Substitutes not used: Mastny, Taylor, McGhee.

Scorers: Swailes og 15, Garner 23 | Anderson 90

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Old 01-02-2020, 06:48 AM   #8
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20



UNDER-23S: REDS GO TOP WITH COMEBACK WIN


Manchester United’s Under-23s leapfrogged over long-time leaders West Ham United to the summit of the Premier League 2 Division Two table, following a hard-earned 2-1 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road on Friday evening.

United fell behind to an early Canaries goal but recovered admirably to claim maximum points with first-half strikes from Aidan Barlow and Aliou Traore.

However, the Hammers could regain top spot on Sunday when they make the long trek north to face basement club Sunderland, who’ve incredibly taken just a solitary point from the fifteen games they have completed so far.

United head coach Neil Wood was forced, through injury and unavailability, to name a heavily changed side to that which beat Newcastle United 2-1 last time out at Leigh Sports Village.

Slovakian goalkeeper Alex Fojticek was recalled from his loan spell with non-league club Stalybridge Celtic, as was defender Max Taylor. And Barlow was also back in a red shirt following his stint in Norway with Tromso. Despite the alterations, it was still a strong-looking side that lined up to take on the yellow-shirted Canaries.

Just ten days on from the Under-18s' FA Youth Cup success on the same ground, our Under-23s were keen to emulate the youngsters’ impressive victory. But that mission was to receive a setback as early as the third minute when Norwich, who’d started with a real spring in their step, snatched the lead when Gassan Ahadme got on the end of Jordan Thomas’ lofted cross to head the home side in front.

That almost instant shock could easily have taken the wind out of United’s sails but the reaction was a positive one and with Angel Gomes looking to be at his mercurial best, the Reds were soon giving the home side's defence some uneasy moments.

It therefore came as little surprise when, in the 17th minute, Gomes' delicately executed pass found Barlow, who managed to find the net by lifting the ball over the Canaries’ ‘keeper Archie Mair.

This was more like it from United, but Wood's men were destined to survive a few scares in Fojticek’s area before Arnau Puigmal supplied the assist for Traore to beat Mair at the second attempt.

The Reds' first-half resurgence spilled over into the second half but despite continuing to have the largest chunk of possession, the threat posed by Norwich kept the likes of the impressive Teden Mengi on their toes in our defence.

The Canaries had arrived at this game with precisely the same record as United from their previous five games – four wins and one defeat – so it was expected to be a tight contest and so it proved, with the Reds just shading it to go top.

MATCH DETAILS

United: Fojticek; Puigmal, Mengi, Taylor, McGhee; Garner, Galbraith, Levitt; Barlow (Mejbri 73), Gomes, Traore.

Substitutes not used: Ramazani, Carney, Helm, Wellens.

Goals: Norwich - Ahadme 3 | United - Barlow 17, Traore 37.

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Old 11-02-2020, 09:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20



PORTUGUESE TRIP BOOSTS REDS YOUNGSTERS

Manchester United have enjoyed a hugely rewarding stay in Portugal as members of the Under-23s and Under-18s squads followed up a training camp in the Algarve with a friendly against Benfica in Lisbon.

In a trip designed to replicate the first-team experience, the youngsters had demanding training sessions and tactical work at their Vale do Lobo base, while also taking part in team-bonding events. There was a spot of beach-volleyball on Friday, followed by a foot-golf tournament and a specially-arranged dinner in Lisbon tonight (Monday).

There have been so many tangible benefits to spending time away from storm-hit Manchester, as the players recharge their batteries and refresh their minds for the remainder of the season. The Under-23s remain near the top of Premier League 2 Division 2, while the Under-18s have an FA Youth Cup quarter-final against Wigan Athletic to look forward to.

Lead coach Neil Wood has been keen to integrate more of the teenagers who will be stepping up into his squad next term, and prepare them for the rigours of men’s football. An old-versus-young game in training illustrated the competitive edge that was encouraged, and the enthusiasm for the work was apparent, with a free-kick competition at the end of Saturday’s session pitting coaches and players against each other.

Angel Gomes had linked up with the group in the early part of their stay, before joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad in Spain. “It’s nice to get away from the Aon Training Complex sometimes, when you’re going into the same environment every day,” Wood told us. “I noticed on the opening day that spirits were really high and Angel came to train for the first two days and it just lifted it to a really high level.”

The facilities were outstanding and the setting ideal as the wind on the first couple of days disappeared and bright sunshine arrived to provide an even greater boost, away from the work on the pitch. Dave Kelly, the senior sports scientist, pointed out the scientific element to the obvious benefits of being in such a pleasant environment.

“It’s blowing a gale back home,” he said. “So, with the sunshine, we have some positive effects on the players. It can help increase performance. Some of our lads are from abroad and are predisposed to low levels of vitamin D when they come to the UK because they are used to the sun in their countries. It’s an essential vitamin which is produced by being in the sun and can increase levels of fitness, muscle strength and stamina.

“Another key benefit of coming here is the recovery of muscle tiredness because the warm weather makes them more pliable. The lads are in a better frame of mind too and, from my perspective, the warm weather is a key part of our Under-23s programme. It’s a win-win for the coaching staff preparing the team and for me, from a physical conditioning perspective.”

The attitude of the players impressed everybody, including assistant-coach Quinton Fortune, who was also keen to emphasise how lucky they are to be able to experience such trips as teenagers.
“They’re coming out with smiles on their faces,” said the former United midfielder. “We’re so fortunate to come away from Manchester and the attitude of the players in all the sessions has been brilliant.

“I can see the difference in their body language when they’re jogging to the training pitch with more energy. Their attitude to training has been spot on.

“We are very fortunate to come away like this and have to enjoy it. I try to remind the players how fortunate they are. Not many teams get to do this. We’ll keep them grounded because they will enjoy the conditions but, at the same time, work hard.”

A coach ride across the country to the capital preceded the game with glamorous opposition in the shape of Benfica, United’s opponents when we first lifted the European Cup back in 1967.

The Portuguese giants hosted the friendly at their plush Academy complex, fielding a mixture of their B team and Under-23s, and it was the perfect way to further enhance the trip.

“One or two have dropped out with knocks so we might have to play some out of position and look at different formations, which can only be a good thing,” Wood told us before the match. “If there is a chance to change the system a little bit, we’ll have a play with the game and try to learn from it.

“I see it as more of an extension of the training really, applying the work out here in the game and I’d rather they make mistakes and try to do it the right way. We’re trying to get the style right from all this practice.”

The fog lifted at the Benfica Campus to allow an 11:20 GMT kick-off, with the home side going ahead after 13 minutes, as Serginho slipped a finish past Ondrej Mastny.

The young Reds equalised through Aidan Barlow, who gobbled up an opportunity after Aliou Traore won possession and Largie Ramazani challenged keeper Fabio Duarte to set up the chance.

Only a fine goalline clearance by David Zec kept out a Ramazani lob while Joao Borges headed over for Benfica at the other end. Wood made six changes at the break to give all of his fit players some game time, as promised, and the more youthful line-up continued to hold their own. However, soon after Barlow fired a free-kick wide, Tomas Azevedo flashed the ball past substitute keeper Dermot Mee in the 70th minute to regain the lead for the Portuguese side.

Hannibal Mejbri was close to curling home an equaliser but the hosts claimed a 2-1 victory, even if the scoreline was of no great importance in the context of a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding trip.

MATCH DETAILS

Benfica 2 United 1

Scorers: Serginho 13, Azevedo 70 | Barlow 25

United:
Mastny (Mee 46); Neville, Mengi (c) (McCann 46), Devine, McGhee; Galbraith, Levitt (Mejbri 46); Barlow, Helm (Wellens 46), Traore (Haygarth 46); Ramazani (Stanley 46).

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Old 14-02-2020, 11:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Sticky: Man United U-23 Matches 2019/20

UNDER-23S' PREMIER LEAGUE 2 MATCH POSTPONED

Manchester United's home game with Swansea City in Premier League 2 on Friday has been postponed.

The Under-23s were due to take on the Swans, in front of the MUTV cameras, after returning from a successful training stint in Portugal.

However, the fixture has been called off due to an illness within the visitors' camp.

Neil Wood's side are currently in second place in the Division 2 table and are not due to be in league action again until Monday 2 March, when Stoke City provide the opposition at the Bet365 Stadium.

However, the youngsters will be taking on Club Brugge in a friendly on 20 February, at FC Heist's ground, the same day Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's senior team tackle the Belgian leaders in the Europa League.

The club has confirmed details for our FA Youth Cup quarter-final against Wigan Athletic, which will be staged at Old Trafford on Friday 28 February (19:00 GMT kick-off).

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