Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday night. Tahith Chong, after coming on as a substitute out United ahead in the 64th minute of the match with a stunning effort, but Southampton scored twice to earn a place in the next round in the final minutes of the match. United had high hopes in this competition this season, after finding their feet in the league, scoring 43 goals this season in true Manchester United style. Some things are not meant to be, I guess.
Kieran McKenna started a strong side against Southampton in the FA Youth Cup with Angel Gomes, Callum Gribbin, Joshua Bohui and DJ Buffonge playing in the front four, which is a vert attacking lineup. The likes of Tahith Chong and Nishan Burkart were left on the bench, with them available should they be needed. Indy Boonen, who was on the bench for the U23’s against Chelsea on Friday was not named in the squad, which was a shame. United started the match well against the South Coast side, who have not won a match for three months, which suggests they are not a very good side, so United should come away with the victory and progress into the next round.
United were pushing from the start to take advantage of their visitors, playing some good football and dominating the South Coast side. After 22 minutes, the score was still 0-0 and the referee blew for a challenge on a Southampton player, who was booked for simulation. The whistle was blown so quickly, it could have easily been a penalty. United then seemed to slow the game down, possibly struggling to break their opposition. A break in the match came with United on the attack through Bohui, who won a corner. United then could have taken the lead through Gomes, but his shot was off target.
Just after the half hour, United again had a chance to take the lead through Lee O’Connor and Angel Gomes on the rebound. O’Connor hit the post and Gomes was not on target once again. United were the ones in possession of the chances, but so far had been unlucky in front of goal. Southampton then got the ball into United’s area, failing to capitalse themselves. With ten minutes of the first half remaining, United really needed to start trying to take ownership of the game, finding a goal to see them through. United played some good football in the final ten minutes, pinning Southampton into their own half and penalty area, with United so far failing to break.
United ended that half with another shot on goal, which saw the young Red Devils being awarded a corner, which amounted to nothing either. United were certainly on top in terms of creativity and possession of the ball, also spending much of the half on the attack with little return. The important factor was that United had so far failed to score, which needs to change, or this could be a long night. Southampton seem like a disciplinary time bomb waiting to explode – perhaps United could use that in their favour against the side who have gone three months without winning a match. The first half ended 0-0.
The second half started with Southampton vying to take charge of the match, keeping United in their own half for periods of the first ten minutes, having a few free-kicks, but taking them badly with United gaining possession and attacking themselves. Kieran McKenna readied Tahith Chong to come on for the home side, giving some fresh legs, pace and ability on the ball, which might thwart this tires Southampton side. United had a period of pressure before Chong replaced DJ Buffonge with Bohui having a shot on goal, which was wide of the target. United were now looking to get something from this game, something which had been a challenge so far.
In the 64th minute of the match, after some good play from United, Tahith Chong scored a spectacular left-footed goal after turning on the ball. United were off the mark and the Southampton side looked dejected in a way that they knew they were not going to comeback from going one goal down. United continued to dominate the match, keeping hold of the ball and looking for that second goal, which would kill the game no doubt. United got through on goal through Callum Gribbin, who went down in the box, but nothing was given. It was the end of the match for Gribbin, who was replaced by Indy Boonen, who was not on the team sheet this evening.
Southampton found themselves back in the match n the 83rd minute levelling the score out of nothing, celebrating like they had won the World Cup, bless them. United now needed to kill this game off in the final seven minutes of the match, or face extra time. United immediately went on the attack with Boonen weaving through the Southampton players looking for a chance to have his shot on goal, that never came with him passing to an advancing Callum Whelan, who fired towards goal and was wide of the mark, unfortunately. Southampton took the lead minutes later, leading the match with minutes remaining. United looked to be out of the FA Youth Cup.
United, needing an equaliser to force extra time were advancing with Bohui having a chance to level the score, but the keeper kept the ball out of the net, giving United a corner, which came to nothing. Time was running out, United needed to throw everything at their opposition, but were being picked off, losing the ball and could have conceded a third goal, but luckily didn’t. United made their third change of the evening with Nishan Burkart replacing Jake Kenyon. The Southampton striker needed some treatment, which will add some time at the end of the match, with United still needing something to level the score. Manchester United are out of the FA Youth Cup.
Goals: Tahith Chong 64′
Assists: Jake Kenyon 64′
Manchester United: Moutha-Sebtaoui; Tanner, Warren, O’Connor, Kenyon (Burkart); Hamilton, Whelan; Buffonge (Chong), Gribbin (Boonen), Gomes; Bohui
Substitutes Not Used: Dunne, Fojticek, Barlow
Bookings: Ethan Hamilton 78′