Manchester United’s U18 side began their new era under the management of Kieran McKenna as they hosted Middlesbrough at the Aon training complex on Saturday morning. Middlesbrough sat joint top of the table and was unbeaten in 15 games at U18 level so United knew they would face a tough test. United was without a number of players with Barlow, Spratt, Warren, Gribbin and Dearnley out injured while Burkart and Chong were away on International duty. There was a new face in the side however as striker Idris Kanu on trial from West Ham started the game.
United began the game brightly and went close to taking the lead in the ninth minute as Gomes corner was met by Tanner but his header flew over the bar. A minute later it was Middlesbrough’s turn to go close from a corner but their header went narrowly wide of the near post. Trialist Idris Kanu was looking lively up front for United and did well in the 18th minute taking a pass from Gomes on the edge of the box and turning the defender but his powerful effort flew over the bar.
United was getting better as the half wore on and Middlesbrough struggled to keep them at bay at times which was shown in the 25th minute as Buffonge was dragged down by Hegarty 25 yards from goal. It was Gomes who took the free kick and drew a fine diving save from the goalkeeper. There were appeals for a penalty for United in the 29th minute as Boonen chopped the ball inside a defender and was brought down but the referee waved play on. It was Boonen who gave United the lead in the 35th minute as Gomes brilliant through ball found Boonen on the left side of the box and he took a touch before smashing the ball in at the near post to make it 1-0. United was dealing with Middlesbrough’s attacks comfortably with O’Connor outstanding at centre-back.
Middlesbrough began the second half far brighter than United and drew level in the 47th minute as a free kick was punched down poorly by Moutha-Sebtaoui and Holdsworth smashed the ball into the net from the edge of the box. Middlesbrough went close to taking the lead a minute later but the finish lacked power and was dealt with by Moutha-Sebtaoui. United made their first change of the game as Luca Ercolani came on to make his debut replacing Max Dunne in the 51st minute.
After Middlesbrough has looked dangerous on a couple of occasions it was United who took the lead in the 52nd minute as Buffonge’s through ball found Gomes and his cross-shot was finished from close range by Kanu. Idris Kanu was impressive on his debut and didn’t have to wait long for his 2nd goal as he finished from close range after a brilliant step over and pull back from Boonen. Kanu limped off injured a few minutes later and was replaced by Diederick-Roberts who really should have scored in the 67th minute as a brilliant right-wing cross from Tanner found him unmarked a few yards out but he headed over.
United was completely dominant at this stage and made it 4-1 in the 69th minute as Buffonge picked the ball up on the halfway line, nutmegged a defender and played a 1-2 with Gomes before making his way into the box and crossing the ball for Gomes to finish from six-yards. United put the icing on the cake in the 89th minute as Kenyon broke away down the left-wing and pulled the ball back for Buffonge to make it 5-1 from six-yards.
It was an extremely dominant display from United against a side who were joint top of the table going into the match and for the 2nd week in a row United produced an emphatic 5-1 win. Next up for United is a home game against West Brom next Saturday where they’ll look to build on their impressive displays.
Goals: Indy Boonen 37′, Idris Kanu 52′, 58′, Angel Gomes 68′, Buffonge 89′
Manchester United: Moutha-Sebtaoui; Tanner, O’Connor, Dunne (Ercolani 51′), Kenyon; Whelan, Hamilton; Buffonge, Gomes, Boonen (Makela 71′); Kanu (Diedrick-Roberts 64′)
Substitutes Not Used: Barrett, Johnstone