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Manchester United’s youngsters recorded our first win of the season in the U18 Premier League, with the Reds defeating Leeds United 3-0 at Thorp Arch on Saturday afternoon.
United struck twice in the opening quarter of the game, first through Dan Gore, who found the net with a smartly taken left-foot finish after 12 minutes.
Sam Mather then doubled our lead 10 minutes later, finishing off a fluid move in an action-packed start in West Yorkshire.
Goalkeeper Eric Hanbury, making his Under-18s debut, was called upon throughout proceedings and did well to keep his clean sheet intact, denying Keelan Carole and then Mitch Picksley on separate occasions, before Kobbie Mainoo rounded off proceedings in the sixth minute of stoppage time, following up on Manni Norkett’s initial effort, which was saved by Harry Christy.
Dan Gore celebrates giving the Reds the lead with his first goal of the season.
It was the visitors who started the game the brightest, with new signing Ethan Ennis racing through in the first 60 seconds of proceedings, his right-footed effort sailing narrowly over the Leeds goal.
The Reds moved into the lead 10 minutes later, with our first goal of the new campaign. A superb tackle from Finley McAllister in the middle of the park was seized upon by Mainoo who in turn played a smart pass through to Gore, with United’s no.10 finishing off the move by tucking his effort under Christy.
Leeds almost equalised moments later, with the tricky Carole twisting and turning his way past three United defenders before the ball fell kindly to Picksley whose strike cannoned back off the crossbar.
After that let-off, we doubled our advantage as a terrific free-flowing move that involved four United players was finished by Mather.
Mainoo was again allowed freedom in the middle of the pitch to play in Gore, with the scorer of the first turning provider as his delicate pass in behind the Leeds backline allowed Mather to caress his left-footed effort over the home keeper.
Hanbury was then called into action to keep United’s advantage at two goals, with the young shot-stopper clawing Sam Murray’s goalbound clearance out for a corner.
Both sides continued to trade blows before the break, with Ennis flashing a shot wide of goal and Picksley testing Hanbury once again.
Mather channels Cristiano Ronaldo’s famous celebration!
United started the second half in the same fashion, with Mather again turning out to be a thorn in the Whites’ side as his goalbound effort was cleared off the line by Cian Coleman.
Picksley was then presented with a golden opportunity to reduce the deficit. A deflected pass was seized upon by the Leeds’ no.7, but Hanbury was again quick to react and close the striker down.
On 55 minutes, United should have been awarded a penalty for what appeared to be a clear foul on striker Norkett, however, he was adjudged to have been brought down outside the area by referee Gareth Davis. The resulting free-kick saw Mather’s effort strike the post.
The game slowed in its pace as the half wore on, with McAllister dominating in midfield, but Leeds had a spot-kick shout of their own turned down with 10 minutes to go. Charlie Allen found captain Max Dean in the penalty area and he went down claiming he’d been fouled by substitute Sonny Aljofree.
Davis waved play on and all that was left was for Mainoo to add some gloss to the scoreline, deep into injury-time.
Kobbie Mainoo advances with the ball during his side’s victory.
United: Hanbury; Jurado, Bennett (Aljofree 71), Fredericson, Murray; Mainoo, McAllister; Ennis (Oyedele 46), Gore (Nolan 69), Mather; Norkett.
Subs not used: Myles, Sharpe
Scorers: Gore 13, Mather 23, Mainoo 90+6
Yellow cards: Snowdon