Report: United beat Spurs 3-2 with Harrop showing Mourinho his class

Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League 2 at Old Trafford in their last match of the season. That man of the evening Josh Harrop scored all three goals, his first the opening goal of the match in the 37th minute through some good skills on the ball. Spurs equalised early in the second half, doubling that lead soon after. Harrop equalised for United in the 80th minute, scoring what was the winner in the 86th minute – Harrop’s tenth goal of the season in this league. Jose Mourinho was in the crowd with Harrop’s display possibly being enough to get him into the first team and possible show his abilities there, which would be good for him.

Nicky Butt made a few chances from the 2-2 draw against Arsenal a week ago with Joel Pereira, Regan Poole, Tosin Kehinde and Devonte Redmond all being recalled into the starting XI against Tottenham Hotspur. This leaves Axel Tuanzebe, who played for the first team against Spurs on Sunday, Demetri Mitchell and Scott McTominay, both named on the bench yesterday, all out of action with their possible inclusion in the first team in their match away to Southampton on Wednesday evening. United started well at the Theatre of Dreams trying to maintain possession and aiming to give the visitors a game they needed to in a rainy Manchester – is there any other?

Spurs had the lions share of the possession early in the game, but United soon started to get themselves into the game with Nicky Butt screaming from the sideline. United struggled at times to get out of their area, much like the first team did against Spurs at White Hart Lane on Sunday with Spurs being much stronger in the air than their opposition. Callum Gribbin, a star at this level needed to get into the game as his creativity and his eye for a goal, or two could be the difference United need to beat the North London club. Josh Harrop threatened early on in the match, getting in the advance with his run on the ball. Spurs had the first credible effort on goal through Shayon Harrison with his volley wide of the target.

A minute or so later, Harrison had another chance to break the deadlock latching onto a ball which came in over the top. Tyrell Warren closed in on the Spurs forward, closing down the angle towards goal forcing the attempt across the goal, rather than into the back of it. United seemed to be defending well, but attacking is something that could be a little better, at this moment in time at least. The visitors were a well-organised team at Old Trafford, closing down the space United needed to create something. Gribbin had a free-kick on the edge of the box with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson picking the ball up inside the box, but United failing to gain anything from the set-piece, then putting possession into their own area with Spurs advancing again.

United took the lead in the 37th minute of the match with Matthew Olosunde picking out Josh Harrop in a central position for him to shoot the perfect strike into the back of the net. United were leading Tottenham Hotspur U23’s 1-0 at Old Trafford. It was a good spell for United, and this will only instil confidence in the side. Spurs had a chance of their own moments later through with a cross on the floor across the goal with Harrison’s effort off target, which was an easy chance to miss. Pereira was called into action moments later again with Spurs seemingly looking for their equaliser after being caught out by United. The young Red Devils will need to be at the top of their game to thwart the visitors heading into the last five minutes of the first half. United still lead at the break.

No changes for United at the start of the second half, but there was a change in the game. Spurs scored in the 47th minute of the match, through Jaden Brown, equalising and cancelling out Harrop’s goal at the end of the first half. The score was now the same as the reverse fixture earlier in the season with both teams aiming to win, United needing to do a bit more than Spurs to get the result they would like. Spurs took the lead in the 50th minute through Samuel Shashoua just a few days after his 18th birthday. Spurs could have put United into even more hot water through Shashoua but Joel Pereira got a touch to it, giving away a corner, which came to nothing for the visitors, luckily for United.

In the 54th minute, United made their first change with Ethan Hamilton replacing Tyrell Warren. That did not stop Spurs from advancing though, still getting the better of the home side all over the pitch. With 25 minutes to go, United made their second change with Zach Dearnley replacing Callum Gribbin still chasing the game from 2-1 down. United needed to keep their heads and work to get them back into the match, but Spurs were just too good on the ball, retaining possession and getting on the attack. Some of the United players at this level will be happy this is the final match of the season, looking ahead to next season with some looking ahead to new futures away from the Old Trafford club, some on loan, some on permanent deals.

In the 70th minute, Devonte Redmond had a chance to draw level for United after some good play and a pass from Harrop. Redmond’s effort was not on target, which should have been much better for the United man. Spurs soon got back to threatening United in the 74th minute of the match but Cameron Borthwick-Jackson put in a good tackle to deny Spurs from the chance to exten their lead furthermore. United seemed to be giving in, which is not the right way to be playing for the club. Perhaps if United had a striker, a player capable of working behind the defence and threatening, this season could have been so much different. Losing the likes of Will Keane and James Wilson, the latter on loan, then injured, seems to have taken a lot of quality from the U23’s this season.

In the 80th minute, United equaliser through Harrop – the second shot on target for United and their second goal. Harrop is a talented player, showing his class for the first goal and for his second – his ninth goal of the season. Moments after the goal, United made their third change with DJ Buffonge replacing Devonte Redmond. United seem to have turned the game on its head, threatening Spurs, turning the tables of the game. Harrop was unlucky not to have scored a hat-trick, having the space and time to make a shot which was off target. On the 87th minute of the match, Harrop completed his hat-trick – his tenth goal of the season. What a player Josh Harrop is turning into.

United could have had a fourth in the third minute of added time, but it was not meant to be for United, who got the corner from the attack. United had done enough to win this match, despite Spurs looking the better team for large proportions of the match. Josh Harrop is the Man of the Match, in my opinion, and doing what he did with Jose Mourinho in the crowd seeing the type of player he is, which may afford him a first team place, at least in training, in the coming week. It was a good win for United, who entertained at the time they needed to. What a great end to the season for the U23 side, who have risen to sixth in the final table of the Premier League 2.

Goals: Josh Harrop 37′, 80′, 87

Manchester United: J. Pereira; Olosunde, Warren (Hamilton 54′), Poole, Borthwick-Jackson; Kehinde, Willock; Gribbin (Dearnley 65′), Redmond (Buffonge 81′), Harrop; Bohui

Substitutes Not Used: M. Johnstone, Dunne


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