Manchester United U21’s played their first Barclays U21 Premier League match in a month against Sunderland at Eppleton Colliery on Monday evening, winning 1-0 with Tyler Reid scoring his first U21 goal 15 minutes from the end of the match. United had only played twice in the league this season so far, sitting tenth in the table with four points, 12 adrift of leaders Sunderland. United now have five games in hand over Sunderland and are nine points adrift. Sam Johnstone started in goal with Joel Castro Pereira on loan with Rochdale, which will be good for the players development. With the first team facing Middlesbrough in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday evening at Old Trafford, the likes of James Wilson, Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard, who has been involved with the first team for the last few matches, all vying for a place in the League Cup match.
Joe Riley filled in at left-back for this fixture, Timothy Fosu-Mensah was lively in midfield and James Weir continued his rise to fame at the club. It was substitute Tyler Reid who scored the only goal of the match 15 minutes from time, which was also his first at U21 level. Sunderland were the side to beat, especially in the first 15-20 minutes when they were playing some good football. United defended well, and needed to at times. They were denied a penalty in the first half, which should have been given, but Sunderland could feel the same after their claim in the second half was not awarded. Warren Joyce’s side face Reading at home in a weeks time, which should see U21 football return regularly heading into the rest of the season. United have an advantage with their games in hand, which they will be looking to win.