U18s: Manchester United 2-1 Blackburn Rovers

by Tracey Germaine

Manchester United beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at the AON Training Complex to continue their six match unbeaten run in the U18s Premier League.

United had a two goal lead with goals from Zach Dearnley and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson before Lewis Mansell pulled one back for Rovers. However, the Reds managed to hold on to claim the victory.

United dominated the opening stages of the match. Devonte Redmond dinked the ball over a Blackburn defender to Joe Riley who passed to Marcus Rashford on the other side of the six yard box. Rashford’s shot just trickled past the woodwork as United signaled their intent.

Zach Dearnley‘s cross towards Rashford at the near-post found it’s way to Timothy Fosu-Mensah whose header was saved by the Blackburn goalkeeper, Andrew Fisher. Joe Riley‘s poor run of luck in front of goal continued. His shot looked set to beat Fisher at his near post but the ball just curled wide of the post.

Riley sent a perfectly timed pass into right-back Tyler Reid‘s path. Reid’s cross came off a Rovers defender and fell to Dearnley headed home to give United the lead. That’s Dearnley’s 3rd goal in the last three matches.

Fosu-Mensah linked up well with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson on the right side of the pitch. Some neat footwork saw Fosu-Mensah make space inside the box. He curled his shot towards the top corner but Fisher leaped across to make an excellent save.

Just before the hour mark, Borthwick-Jackson doubled United’s lead. Rashford’s snapshot rebounded off the post. Ro-Shaun Williams, who ventured forward on several occasions, was on hand to control the ball and find Borthwick-Jackson in front of the goal.

Lewis Mansell pulled a goal back shortly afterwards for Rovers to set up an interesting final 30 minutes. Poor clearances allowed the ball to come back into the United box where Mansell headed home to reduce the deficit for his side.

A flurry of substitutions happened for United with Ruairi Croskery, Jordan Thompson and Demetri Mitchell all making their way back from injury. With fixtures starting to come in thick and fast, Paul McGuinness is looking to build up the minutes for these players. Rashford saw two goals ruled out for offside.

Fosu-Mensah, Rashford and Croskery all had chances in the final stages but couldn’t find the target. Rashford set Redmond through on goal in the final minutes but Redmond fluffed his attempt.

That win, United’s fifth consecutive at U18s level in all competitions, see United remain in fourth place in the U18s Premier League Northern Division. The gap with Manchester City is now to one point.

Manchester United: Henderson, Reid, Tuanzebe (c), Williams, Borthwick-Jackson, Riley (Thompson 64′), Fosu-Mensah, Redmond, Dearnley (Croskery 64′), Gribbin (Mitchell 69′), Rashford.
Unused Substitutes: Byrne, Scott.
Goals: Zach Dearnley, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson.
Bookings: Jordan Thompson.
Man of the Match: Joe Riley.

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