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Academy Match Report: Fulham u21s 1-1 Manchester United u21s

by Colm Murphy

Nearly a month since their last fixture, Manchester United u21s were finally back in Premier League 2 action on Friday night as they headed south to take on Fulham at Motspur Park.

The early stages saw Fulham take control of the match with their frontline deploying a high energy press that United struggled to get to grips with, sending a number of passes at the back out of play.

Imani Lanquedoc was one of the brightest for the home side and had a huge chance in the 16th minute when a low cross into the box found him open 10 yards out but the winger put his effort over the bar.

The speedy right winger made no mistake on the next one though when he raced in behind the United backline before poking the ball under Elyh Harrison to give the home side the lead.

While United were failing to match Fulham’s intensity, Rhys Bennett was putting himself about across the pitch with a number of strong challenges. Pushing one Fulham midfielder off the ball, Bennett made a charge up field before trying his luck from 25 yards out to test the Fulham keeper for the first time of the match.

Fulham threatened to add another before the break with some dangerous crosses that were too often cleared straight back to Fulham but a series of good blocks and poor finishing saw the match remain 1-0 into the break.

Travis Binnion looked to the bench at the break and introduced Ethan Ennis, who returned after a lengthy injury to replace Sam Mather, who in turn has been battling injury troubles recently as well.

You never would have known it was Ennis’ first competitive match in over a year though as he instantly injected life into the United side with direct running on the left wing and winning a corner.

With Ennis offering an outlet on the left wing, it relieved the pressure on the back and United began to gain some momentum in possession.

Shola Shoretire came alive in the second half with a number of good deliveries, the first to Sam Murray on the left wing who then cut back to Shoretire following up on the edge of the box but the midfielder’s shot was blocked for a corner.

Fulham were still in it though and a chance from Jonathan Esenga looked destined for the top left corner but for a top save from Harrison.

In the 87th minute, United came close to equalising when Bennett towered above to head from Ethan Williams’ corner but directed it just wide of the left post.

Williams was peppering his deliveries into the box from his left and right boot and they came close again as Tom Huddlestone headed onto the roof of the net.

Into injury time and Williams collected the ball at the edge of the box and blasted into the bottom left corner to give United a dramatic late equaliser.

It wasn’t over there though, Joe Hugill’s headed effort was then pushed onto the post and then collected by the keeper off the line to deny United the late win.

The match finished 1-1 and point brings United into 14th place, just inside the play-off spots.

United: Harrison, Kambwala (Nolan 61), Aljofree (Huddlestone 83), Bennett, Murray, Collyer, Shoretire, Mejia (Williams 78), Hansen-Aaroen, Mather (Ennis 46), Hugill

Unused subs: Plumley

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