Manchester United’s Under-21s were back in league action over a month since their last fixture against Bolton on September 16 in an exciting goalless draw against Everton at Goodison Park.
Out of favour first teamers Fabio and Anderson started in a relatively settled reserve side although surprisingly there was no place in the squad for Wilfried Zaha, who had a very good outing in the last Under-21 game in the Manchester Senior Cup.
United looked dangerous in the first half creating lots of opportunities. Guillermo Varela and Fabio were pushing forward at every opportunity.
One of the better chances came when Fabio threaded the ball through with his right foot to Tom Lawrence whose shot was narrowly wide. However, the best chance came when the Everton goalkeeper made a mess and passed the ball to Lawrence, who ran in on goal but unfortunately his shot wasn’t on target.
Will Keane wasn’t bothered by the experienced Tony Hibbert with a great turn and shot but the keeper was alive to it. Then Larnell Cole had a great chance to give United the lead going in at the break but the keeper made a good save to keep it on level terms.
Everton came back into the game in the second half and successfully contained the threat from the fullbacks. Anderson was substituted with just over an hour played. He was replaced by Tyler Blackett. As a result we lost a bit of shape in the middle as Blackett, Reece James and Fabio rotated positions quite frequently.
James did well to make something of a poorly placed long ball from Thorpe which had gone to an Everton defender. He put pressure on and came away with the ball. He got a good shot off which the keeper saved.
United were lucky not to concede when Long passed to the left and Hope capitalised on a Varela slip but Ben Amos pulled off a crucial save and diverted the shot onto the post.
Will Keane tested the Everton keeper again after a good run from Lawrence but the keeper was again equal to it.
Thorpe then had a chance to break the deadlock when the ball went across the face of goal but he was unable to get a touch on the ball to direct it in for a goal. James Weir replaced Lawrence with around 15 minutes to go to make his debut at Under-21 level.
The Toffee’s hit the woodwork a second time with ten minutes to go. Long dispossessed Michael Keane and struck his shot low under Amos’ dive only to be denied by the post.
Even though loads of opportunities created neither team was able to find the back of the net in an entertaining 0-0 draw.
Manchester United: Amos, Varela, Michael Keane, Thorpe, Fabio, Cole, Ekangamene, James, Anderson (Blackett 62′), Lawrence (Weir 76′), Will Keane. Un-used Subs: J. Pereira, Love, Barmby.