Man Utd U18 2-1 West Ham U18
Scorer(s): Barlow ’10, Dearnley ’40 – Scully (p) ’69
Man Utd XI: Fojtiček; Tanner, Warren, Sang, Kenyon (Spratt ’87), Whelan, Hamilton, Bohui, Barlow, Dearnley (Diedrick-Roberts ’83); Burkart (Makela ’62).
West Ham XI: Forde; Ngakia (Bernardo Rosa ’66), Wells, Henry (Yiannis Constantinou ’90), Eggleton, Alese, Powell, Lewis, Hector-Ingram, Scully, Longelo.
Kieran McKenna’s Man United sealed their first win of the playoffs in the U18 Premier League. First half goals from Aidan Barlow and Zak Dearnley meant Anthony Scully’s 69th-minute penalty was ultimately irrelevant.
Despite a number of good performances, United have been held to 2-2 draws by both Liverpool and Manchester City and were unfortunate to concede a 94th-minute goal against Chelsea in a 4-3 defeat.
So Aidan Barlow’s early opener was a good starting point. Josh Bohui did fantastically on the left side of the penalty area, moving past two players before pulling it back to his teammate to finish over a sprawling West Ham goalkeeper.
Dearnley made it two after 40 minutes with a poke from an extremely tight angle. With every player in West Ham’s penalty area anticipating a pull-back to Nishan Burkart, Dearnley pushed it in past Tyler Forde, virtually from standing on the byline.
Burkart was mildly annoyed that he hadn’t received the cut-back until he realised the ball had nestled in the back of the net. West Ham threatened little in the first half, though Tyrell Warren made a number of excellent challenges to prevent them from really testing Fojtiček.
Fojtiček created a difficult final twenty minutes for his side after recklessly scything down Jahmal Hector-Ingram with the West Ham forward running away from goal. The Slovakian received only a booking, but couldn’t stop Anthony Scully’s penalty.
Substitute Bernardo Rosa almost caught Fojtiček out with United’s goalkeeper off his line. His chip went wide of the post, though.
United are now fourth in Merit Group One of the U18 Premier League. They can leapfrog Reading into at least third with a win against the Home Counties side next Saturday. The game is closed to supporters but it’s the final away game of the season for the Reds as they look to catch up with leaders Chelsea, currently four points ahead.