Manchester United continued their impressive start to the Milk Cup with a very professional 3-0 win against County Armagh at the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney tonight. United made three changes to the starting line up from the first game with Dorrington, Borthwick-Jackson and Warren replacing Henderson, Tuanzebe and Reid with Borthwick Jackson taking over the captaincy.
Armagh started well and were strong and quick into the tackle as they pressed United well early while Dorrington had to be alert early on to sweep up a couple of balls which dropped over United’s defence while at the other end Demetri Mitchell looked lively again following his four goal tally in yesterday’s game as he caused Armagh a few problems when he ran with the ball.
United’s early probing paid dividends as Mitchell’s run down the right-wing found its way to Obi and his pulled back cross found Jordan Thompson on the edge of the box and his brilliant volley found the corner of the net to give United the lead. It was no less than Thompson deserved as he was very impressive again. A couple of minutes later United’s two trialists almost combined for a second goal as Borg’s driven cross from the left-wing found its way to Obi who took a good first touch but didn’t get enough power in his shot to beat the keeper.
United’s wing play was causing a lot of problems for Armagh as Mitchell’s brilliant rabona cross found Rashford just a few yards out but the ball was slightly behind him and he couldn’t sort out his feet in time to find a finish. United didn’t have long to wait for the 2nd goal however as Obi’s low cross from the left-wing found Mitchell with his back to goal inside the box and he swiveled well to and managed to finish well on the turn to make it 2-0 before half time.
Half time saw the introduction of Zachary Dearnley who replaced Obi which meant a reshuffle with Rashford moving up front. United almost got off to a perfect start to the second half as Rashford’s flicked ball found Mitchell in space on the left of the box but he opted for power over placement and his shot flew wide of the left hand upright.
United struggled to create as many chances as they had in the first half and Armagh threatened sporadically at the other end with United’s biggest scare coming from a ball over the top of the defence which the Armagh player lobbed over the oncoming Dorrington only to see it drop wide of the post while United had a similar effort at the other end as Gribbin’s beautifully chipped through ball found Rashford who lifted it over the keeper but also cleared the bar.
With United looking comfortable Paul McGuinness took the chance to give Demetri Mitchell a well deserved rest as he replaced him with Travis Johnson. Moments later United wrapped up the match as the impressive Rashford received the ball on the edge of the box before beating a number of players with a combination of step overs and feints before finishing low under the keepers dive.
United played out the rest of the match in total control and a shot from Gribbin following a slip from the defender was the only other chance but the keeper saved well at his near post. United move onto the final game of the group against CSKA Moscow tomorrow with qualification firmly in their own hands.
Manchester United: Dorrington; Warren, Williams, Borthwick Jackson; Mitchell (Johnson 61′), Gribbin, Thompson, Borg; Rashford, Obi (Dearnley 36′)