United’s Reserves faced Oldham Athletic tonight in the Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final at Leigh Sports Village and lost 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time. Regan Poole crossed for Matt Olosunde who neatly tucked away a difficult volley to give United the lead, however, they were pinned back by Oldham not too long into the second half. United’s goal came against the run of play as Oldham edged the first half and would have been disappointed to go in at the break trailing, and it was much the reverse in the second half as Athletic equalised against the run of play against a much improved United side who equalled their number of attempts from the first half in the first three minutes of the second. How did the youngsters fair individually against the opposition and who were the stand-out performers? Find out below in the player ratings.
Henderson was reliable when called upon but unfortunately helpless for their goal which he saw loop over him from a good header. He made a crucial David De Gea-like save in the second half which kept out a certain goal and kept United in the game. He was unfortunate not to save any of the penalties but can be satisfied with his night's work.
As usual, lung-busting runs up and down the flanks were the order of the day for Riley. Co-commentator Andy Ritchie said "you know what you're gonna get with Riley, 100 percent effort", which sums up the player and was reflected in his performance. He was solid in defence as his improvement in that aspect continues to show.
38 Axel Tuanzebe
Another impressive display from the highly rated Tuanzebe, who provided a crucial block in the first half, typical of his committed character. He didn't look out-of-place against more experienced opponents and often looked like a senior player stepping down. He got forward a lot more in the second half to good effect as he showed off his skill on the ball.
A rare match in his natural position at centre back, Poole was a prime example of the side's improvement in the second half as he became more assured both with and without possession. A good cross into the box following an overhit corner from Sean Goss provided the assist for Olosunde's opener. Scored his penalty in the shoot-out (just).
A tough night for the Libyan-born youngster as he was tested thoroughly defensively. He was fortunate not to concede what looked like a penalty in the first half and was later caught out in the air for Oldham's goal as he lost his man. Had one or two bright moments going forward with little result and he'll be looking to improve upon this outing.
Two tame efforts typified his overall performance as Redmond failed to gain control in what was a tough battle in the middle of the park. He at times looked like a boy amongst men although he looked a bit better as the game went on. Scored his penalty confidently in the shootout.
Not Willock's finest game. Another of the players that looked slightly overawed early on, his runs forward didn't come off like they usually would and he may well have suited a slightly deeper position than he was in, as he wasn't granted the driving space he wanted. He stepped it up in the second half, as more things began to come off for him before being replaced late in the match.
It's good to see Goss back in action after his lengthy lay off that meant he missed most of the last season but he was able to put in a performance that showed glimpses of why he was taken on the 2015 pre-season tour with the first team. Dictating the tempo and setting up his more attacking colleagues, Goss looked comfortable in the middle, although defensively he could've contributed more as the deepest lying midfielder. Taking up the armband after James Weir was forced off at half-time, he put in a good showing and led by example by scoring his penalty in the shoot-out defeat.
In his first start at this level, Matt Olosunde got his goal playing in the unfamiliar position of right-wing, the goal was well-executed volley that he scored from an awkward body position and shocked the opposition. He was tidy in possession and picked his opportunities well to drive forward, showing some skill although his limitations further up the field showed at times, understandable for a more defence minded player.
Playing in the unfamiliar role of striker, McTominay was unable to hold up the ball well enough to bring others behind him into play. He was a constant nuisance for the defenders as always and was often first to any balls into the box. He saw a good chance that he'd fashioned himself to go two nil up saved and another blocked. It was a frustrating night for someone who is usually a box-to-box player but taking one for the team, as he had the first of United's penalties saved in the shootout.
Ratings: Manchester United (3) 1-1 (4) Oldham Athletic – Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final 2015/16
The captain didn't have his best game, struggling to link up effectively with Riley once the fullback switched to the left and also failing to provide enough width on his side of the pitch. He was, however, tidy in possession and positive in the final third.
Replaced Matt Olosunde. The exciting winger came on and added some impetus to United's cause and looked likely to be a creator or scorer. he'll wish he had more time on the pitch given he had two in two in the matches preceding this one. A cheeky panenka penalty didn't come off as it drifted just over the bar which meant the next successful penalty for Oldham won them the match.
Replaced James Weir. The livewire added energy to midfield and he got himself involved in a lot of the build up play although he was unable to provide the killer pass or goal needed to get the result. Kept possession well and will be hoping to get a chance away from the left-wing and in central midfield next time around.
Replaced Matty Willock. The 17-year-old saw a curling effort fly marginally over in United's last chance of the game but the young playmaker had little time to make an impact.