Man Utd U23 3-2 Spurs U23
Scorer(s): Harrop ’37, ’80, ’87 – Brown ’48, Shashoua ’50
Man Utd XI: Pereira; Olosunde, Warren (Hamilton ’59), Poole, Borthwick-Jackson; Kehinde, Willock; Gribbin (Dearnley ’65), Redmond (Buffonge ’81), Harrop; Bohui.
Spurs XI: Austin; Hinds, Lesniak (c), Maghoma, Brown; Ogilvie, Amos; Shashoua, Tracey, Miller; Harrison.
- Harrop scores hat-trick, including late winner
- Tuanzebe, McTominay and Mitchell not involved with Man Utd first team squad inclusion on Wednesday vs Southampton possible
- Spurs score two in two minutes after half-time, but Harrop’s brilliance gets United win
- Man United finish 6th in Premier League 2
- José Mourinho watching at Old Trafford
A stunning hat-trick of individual goals saw Josh Harrop guide Manchester United to a 3-2 victory in their final game of the Premier League 2 season, seeing them finish 6th thanks to these three points.
The United number 7 gave the Reds the lead with a wonderful curling shot, equalised in the 80th minute with great feet and seven minutes later, grabbed his third of the evening and the winner with more fantastic footwork in the penalty area for his 10th goal of the season.
It’s the first season of the new format of the tournament, with teams now under-23s rather than under-21s. Warren Joyce’s United won the league last year, a late 3-2 victory at White Hart Lane seeing them become champions, but this year has been poor.
Without any natural strikers at this age group, a number of midfielders have been tried and rotated as number 9s. Under-18 striker Josh Bohui, though more natural on the right-wing, has recently been brought into the side, allowing United to be far more balanced.
The Reds took the lead in a quiet first half after excellent work from Matt Olosunde on the left. Josh Harrop received his layoff and curled in his eighth goal of the season brilliantly.
The game sprang into life after the opening goal, with United looking a much greater threat in the closing stages of the first half. Spurs came out of the break having recognised that they could get in behind a relatively slow centre-back partnership of Regan Poole and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, and prospered immediately.
Defender Jaden Brown chested down a cross from the right-flank and finished well on the half-volley at the far post to equalise. Two minutes later, more poor defending from United allowed Sam Shashoua to be free in the penalty area as he placed a pull-back into the bottom right corner.
Spurs were in the flow, and Man United captain Joel Pereira had to be in excellent form to prevent the Reds from suffering further. He denied a second for Shashoua as well as stopping Shilow Tracey, his performance in one-on-one situations on Monday night superb.
The introduction of some younger players for United helped them to victory. As against Arsenal, when the Reds scored twice in the second half for a 2-2 draw, the under-18 players involved as substitutes impressed. Ethan Hamilton was the first sub while Zak Dearnley and DJ Buffonge later came on.
Harrop equalised with 10 minutes of normal time remaining. He took on Josh Bohui’s ball into the box, sent a Spurs defender to the ground, sliding across the wet turf, and pulled it just past the fingertips of Brandon Austin.
Soon after, his hat-trick and the winner arrived. DJ Buffonge and Josh Bohui combined well on the left, Harrop took Bohui’s little pass with his momentum, moved easily past a Spurs defender, walked past another and rocketed it from close range high into the net.
It’s his 10th goal of the season and a fantastic way to finish off the campaign where he’s stood out. José Mourinho was watching alongside assistant manager Rui Faria, and Harrop will have given him food for thought.
The end to a tricky Premier League 2 campaign for United, where relegation was a real threat. As it happens, they finish 6th. These latter few months of the season has been better. Bohui up front has added more balance, u18 players have changed the team for better.