Home ยป Academy Match Report: Manchester United u18s 2-1 Nottingham Forest u18s

Academy Match Report: Manchester United u18s 2-1 Nottingham Forest u18s

by Colm Murphy

Manchester United u18s returned from the international break Saturday morning with a home fixture against Nottingham Forest.

United featured a youthful side with many of the more prominent figures away in Scotland with the u21s, this opened the door for a number of debuts including Godwill Kukonki, who was involved from the start at left back. While the pitch saw new faces, the sidelined presented an old face in Phil Jones who was among of the coaching staff on the day.

The opening quarter of an hour saw few openings for either side until a cross from Malachi Sharpe wasn’t cleared, which allowed for Reece Munro to shoot from close range. But it was blocked off the goal line. Forest then threatened from a cross of their own that eventually was fired into the side netting.

In the 23rd minute, Ruben Curley decided to strike from long range with a placed effort that was destined for the top corner only to be tipped over the bar by an equally impressive save.

Curley then played the ball inside to Sharpe, who opened the space to shoot from the edge of the box but it was deflected over. Forest’s five man backline was proving difficult to breakdown.

Forest showed they were still in the match approaching the 40th minute when Connor Brown broke in behind on the counter attack and forced a big save from Tom Myles.

After controlling most of the match up to that point, fortunes changed in the dying stages of the first half as Ashton Missin, who was having a lively performance on the wing, saw red after picking up two yellow cards within a minute. Initially, stopping a counter attack to earn his first yellow, the 17 year old immediately jumped into a late challenge upon the resumption of play and gave the referee no option but to give him his marching orders.

United’s troubles were then compounded in the 43rd minute as some sloppy passing at the back turned over possession before Myles desperately slid out and conceded a penalty. Forest’s Brown slotted into the bottom right corner to send United into the break trailing 0-1 and down to 10 men.

The opening minutes of the second looked like a landslide was coming as Forest bombarded United’s box but Adam Lawrence’s young reds soon found their footing and were back in it.

The standout on the day, Curley skipped past the Forest defender before passing the keeper as well and looked to slide the ball into the open net but a last ditch clearance on the line denied a thoroughly deserved goal for the midfielder.

But United would equalise shortly after in the 59th minute. A short corner was played to Finley McAllister, who clipped the ball to the back post for Jack Kingdon sliding in to poke the ball past the Forest keeper.

Forest hit the back of the net again in the 72nd minute after Myles spilled the ball but an offside call spared the United keeper’s blushes.

It was then into injury time when 15 year old Jim Thwaites, who was introduced off the bench for his u18s debut, wriggled past the Forest defender on the right before having his heel clipped inside the box to bring him down and win United a penalty.

Victor Musa took the ball to the spot and placed it into the bottom left corner to give United the win in the dying seconds and earn three points after a resilient and character-building second half.

United: Myles, McAllister, Kingdon, Munro, Kukonki (Thwaites 82), Devaney, Curley (Bailey 64), Fitzgerald (Armer 77), Sharpe (Baumann 46), Musa, Missin

Unused subs: Byrne-Hughes

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