Jesse Lingard‘s solitary strike was enough to give Manchester United’s Under-21s a well deserved win over Sunderland.
United were able to draw on Tyler Blackett who, due to the terms of his youth loan, was eligible to take part even though he is currently on loan with Birmingham. The squad was also bolstered by Jack Rudge who returned from his loan at Torquay United during the week.
There were several chances for United to open the scoring. Saidy Janko, who had an impressive game, made a great run and passed to Davidé Petrucci whose mishit shot flew wide. Andreas Pereira then had a couple of chances to score but failed to hit the net.
Jesse Lingard was wasteful as he latched onto Janko’s neat inside pass to sky his effort well over the crossbar but he more than made up for it in the 40th minute with a fantastic finish from 20 yards with what proved to be the winning goal.
The Reds started brightly in the second half and went close to doubling the lead after great work from Joe Rothwell on the right hand side of the penalty area. He got to the by-line and fed the ball into Petrucci who was playing in an attacking role. Unfortunately, he could only hit the post and the keeper did well to smother the follow up effort.
A scuffle broke out in the 65th minute after Ross Holland’s bad challenge on Guillermo Varela. Ben Pearson had gone in to collect the ball and Holland tried to pick a fight by raising his hands and pushing him. Pearson kept a cool head and removed himself from the situation as the Sunderland players came over to break things up. Holland was fortunate that the referee was lenient and he escaped with just a booking.
James Wilson came on as Joyce tried to freshen things up and push forward but the chances by and large dried up. Sunderland’s best chance came in the 81st minute as they hit the crossbar from a free-kick. Wilson did have a chance to get on the score sheet late on but his shot was deflected onto the crossbar.
That was United’s third consecutive victory and gives them a boost as they luck to secure a top four finish in order to reach the semi-finals of the competition.
Manchester United: J Pereira,Varela, M Keane, Blackett, R James, Janko (Wilson 72′), Pearson, Rothwell, Petrucci, Lingard, A Pereira (Rowley 82′). Unused Substitutes: Gollini, McNair, Rudge
Yellow Cards: Pearson, Varela