Premier League Player of the Month Reiss Nelson scored his sixth goal in four games to help our under-23s beat Manchester United.
The England youth international curled home a free-kick before Josh Dasilva scored from a similar set-piece as we we secured all three points at Leigh Sports Village.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting made just one change to our starting line-up for our visit to Manchester United, with Ryan Huddart returning to goal in the place of Hugo Keto, who impressed in our previous fixture against Liverpool.
Marcus McGuane, Julio Pleguezuelo and Ainsley Maitland-Niles lined up in defence, while Jordi Osei-Tutu and Dasilva filled in on the wings, with Joe Willock and Jeff Reine-Adelaide starting in the middle, in behind Nelson and Eddie Nketiah, who supported Chuba Akpom leading the line.
From kick-off we were keen to show our intentions and just moments into the tie, Nelson struck the post. The in-from forward made a great run from deep to meet Nketiah’s squared ball inside the penalty area and gave United an early warning with his effort, which fired off of the woodwork and out of play.
Encouraged by our impressive start to the tie, we attacked with confidence and once again came close to scoring, with Akpom this time almost giving us the lead. Nelson played a fine ball through to Maitland-Niles, who in turn squared the ball to Akpom in the middle. The striker, however, couldn’t quite get the contact he would have hoped for and United’s goalkeeper Keiran O’Hara was able to block smother the ball.
Shortly after the half-hour mark we opened the scoring through Nelson, who fired in a fantastic free-kick on the left corner of the penalty area. The 17-year-old curled the ball wonderfully into the top corner, leaving O’Hara with no chance, and in turn bagged his sixth goal in four games this season.
Just a few minutes later, we doubled our lead through another great free-kick, with Dasilva this time firing the ball in from the right corner of box. The 18-year-old sent a dipping shot up over United’s wall and just inside the near post to beat O’Hara once again.
Following the interval United attacked with more menace as they searched for a route back into the tie. The hosts came close to doing just that through half-time substitute Zachary Dearnley, who Indy Boonan’s head-on at the far post, but could only poke the ball agonisingly wide of the post.
With the full-time whistle nearing, the final great chance of the match fell to United’s James Wilson, who received the ball with Pleguezuelo between himself and the goal, turned in one swift motion and dinked a shot at goal only for Huddart to rush out to deny him.