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REPORT: Manchester United 0-0 Bolton Wanderers – Barclays U18 Premier League

Manchester United U18’s began their league season this morning at the AON training complex. The team included three U16’s in Williams, Gribbin and Dearnley and trialist Borg who were all impressive in this summers Dale Farm Milk Cup as Paul McGuinness reshuffled the team to deal to deal with injuries.

United began brightly and could have been ahead after a few minutes as Mitchell who was playing as the main striker latched onto a great cross from the right from Riley but was unlucky to see his shot come back off the crossbar. United continued to dominate the possession in the early stages with Borg doing well down the left and Mitchell causing problems with his pace. Mitchell’s pace was on display again in the 15th minute as he latched onto a through ball from U18 debutant Gribbin and took the ball around the keeper only to see a defender get back to clear his effort off the line.

Bolton were encouraged by United’s failure to score while on top and grew more into the game as the half wore on and tried to break quickly when they got the ball but Tuanzebe and Williams dealt with them well. For United Riley began to look dangerous down the right  as the half wore on with Mitchell continuing to look lively and when he spun his marker in the box in the 35th minute it looked like he could give United the lead but his shot from an angle was well dealt with by the Bolton keeper Jaaskelainen (Jussi’s son). United will have been pleased with their possession in the first half as they dominated from start to finish but will be unhappy not to have scored at least once as the lack of a natural striker was quite apparent.

The second half began in a similar fashion to the first as Dearnley latched onto Mitchell’s through ball before pulling his shot wide and Williams mishit cross brought the best out of Jaaskelainen who pushed the ball over for a corner. United had two appeals for penalties in the opening stages of the second half as McTominay’s flick hit a Bolton arm but looked accidental and then Mitchell was brought down in the box but the referee waved away both appeals.

Bolton’s introduction of McKenna seemed after 60 minutes gave them a bit more energy in attacking areas but it was United’s overplaying at the back which was almost their undoing as they were caught in possession around their own box twice in quick succession but Bolton couldn’t take advantage on either occasion. United continued to dominate play but had to wait until the 75th minute for their next real chance as Thompson’s cross from the left was controlled by Mitchell but his left footed strike was again brilliantly dealt with by Jaaskelainen. It was to be the last meaningful chance of the game as United began the under 18 campaign with a 0-0 draw in a game they really should have won.

Manchester United: Henderson; Riley, Tuanzebe, Williams, Borg; Gribbin, Borthwick-Jackson, McTominay, Thompson, Dearnley; Mitchell. Substitutes Not Used: Dorrington, Rathbone, Johnson, Warren

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