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Old 14-03-2017, 07:37 AM   #27
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Default Re: Man United U-23 Matches 2016/17

RESERVES: UNITED 3 SOUTHAMPTON 3

Premier League 2 | Old Trafford | Scorers: Redmond 62, Mitchell 70,75 (both pens) | Sims 16, Jones 50, Seager 88 pen

Manchester United Reserves approached this game against Southampton at Old Trafford looking to build on their much-needed victory over Sunderland at Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground last week.

And they went remarkably close in the quest, despite being two goals adrift early in the second half.

Then goals from Devonte Redmond and two from the penalty spot by Demi Mitchell put United in the driving seat until Saints salvaged a point with late spot-kick effort of their own.

There was a distinctly eerie backdrop to game with the huge stands at Old Trafford barely populated with most fans having preferred to travel to London to take in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge or stayed at home to view the action on television.

The few die-hards that chose Old Trafford, and they were clustered around the halfway line in the lower tier of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, were certainly rewarded for their attendance in the opening few minutes as the game swung from one end to the other.

Callum Gribbin chanced his luck with a couple of long-range attempts without success and Saints’ Josh Sims went close in front of the totally deserted Stretford End. Then, in the 16th minute, the same player, Sims, was celebrating after giving the visitors the lead with a low shot from a few yards out, following a rare lapse by Axel Tuanzebe.

Midway through the first half and the fourth official was pressed into action after his colleague, who had been running the line on the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand side of the pitch, was forced to leave the scene after taking a tumble.

It was certainly a lively contest with both teams putting pressure on their opponents’ defence at every possible opportunity. Mitchell did well with a promising run down the left wing, but Scott McTominay was unlucky when the ball landed at his feet in the Saints’ goal area.

On balance, it was the Saints who’d probably had the best of the opening half but they just couldn’t make the most of the chances that came their way.

Five minutes into the second half and United fell further behind when full-back Alfie Jones got above the United defence to head the Saints into a two-goal lead from Harrison Reed’s corner.

Southampton had been threatening to add to their lead but, in the 62nd minute, United clawed their way back into the game with a goal from Redmond.

Reducing the deficit was just the boost United needed and they almost levelled a few minutes later when Joshua Bohui, on as an early second-half substitute for Regan Poole, fired inches wide of the Southampton post.

United’s fightback gained pace in the 70th minute when they were awarded a penalty after McTominay was fouled by Sam McQueen in the area. Mitchell stepped forward to take the spot-kick and put United level at the second time of asking after keeper Munoz Hassen had saved the original attempt. The referee had obviously spotted an infringement and immediately ordered the retake.

More drama was to follow, three minutes later, when the onrushing Matthew Olosunde was taken out by McQueen just inside the Southampton penalty area.

The referee Joseph Johnstone, without any hesitation, pointed to the spot and Mitchell again took the responsibility to blast United into the lead.

Southampton claimed a late share of the spoils when, with two minutes of normal time left, Ryan Seager grabbed the equaliser after the referee pointed to the spot for a third time.

United: O’Hara; Olosunde, Tuanzebe, Borthwick-Jackson, Mitchell (Hamilton 89); Poole (Bohui 52), Kehinde; Gribbin, McTominay, Gribbin; Willock. Substitutes not used: M. Johnsone, Scott, Warren.

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