Manchester United Reserves played Swansea City on Monday night at Leigh Sports Village with Luke Shaw and Ashley Young involved in the team as they made their first appearance since injury, something that was confirmed from Jose Mourinho in the press conference ahead of the first team’s clash with Swansea. This surely meant a few changes for United as Joe Riley was dropped on the bench. Joel Pereira got back playing with the Reserves while Axel Tuanzebe started as well.
Ro-Shaun Williams was definitely unlucky as he got injured in the opening minute after a clash of heads meaning that he couldn’t continue any longer obligating the manager to make a substitution immediately as Tyrell Warren was the chosen one. This slowed the game a little bit as this was truly unexpected. As the minutes passed by both teams were trying to get their first chances but there was no clarity in those shots taken. Having a striker at this level has been helping Manchester United Reserves a lot this season as Josh Bohui won United another penalty in the seventh minute as he was taken down by Swansea captain Joe Rodon. It was a good opportunity for United to go ahead with Demetri Mitchell putting it wide left but the shot was out and the match remained level. What it followed was more a Manchester United possession with Matthew Willock and Scott McTominay playing well winning a few aerial duels, especially McTominay.
With Luke Shaw and Young involved there was always work coming for the Welsh from wide yet things weren’t getting easy for United as no goal was coming as nobody from either team was making the cut, being decisive and score. As no one else was taking responsibility a brilliant run from Willock who weaved past the defense, yet his shot went over. So far it hasn’t been the best for Young who from the right-wing is trying to move and run, but with no result, as he wasn’t helping the team on breaking through the defense. Axel Tuanzebe was again looking class, in need of those minutes as he keeps showing off his skills.
Coming from the U18’s together in the Reserves’ team Indy Boonen and Josh Bohui’s communication has surely helped the team threat as Indy was again being dangerous in the final third but the Swansea were paying attention and nothing came from that combination as well. In the 35th minute, Matthew Willock was unfairly booked for a challenge where he clearly won the ball but the referee wasn’t in the same tune with the United midfielder. It was indeed a frustrating half for United as they had their chance to score but Mitchell couldn’t help himself at all. The teams were strictly following tactics rather the game’s dynamism and 0-0 was a fair result despite the chances United had.
As we moved on the second half, both teams made no changes in the matter as United kept pushing through the left with Luke Shaw always with the ball giving Bohui a good chance to score, yet that wasn’t anywhere near the goal, as again Swansea were defending well. Young put a cross in, but no players in a red shirt touched the ball. In a good moment for the Reserves, it was Swansea who took full advantage of it as Joel Pereira was caught off guard from Gorre who curled one inside. United almost leveled the game as Demetri Mitchell put a cross from wide which surprisingly hit the bar.
With the 60th minute gone, Sbragia decided to make the final two changes of the game and as expected Luke Shaw and Ashley Young came off for Tosin Kehinde and Joe Riley giving the side a new look with Mitchell now moving as left back. Familiar faces in the stands tonight with Nicky Butt watching the Reserves with Andreas Pereira there as well supporting the United youngsters. Things were getting really hard for United as this was turning into a really quiet game and the players were taking no measures on changing things around. The problem is coming from the right as Riley is struggling to win the ball.
Finally, movement from the Reds in the 68th minute as again things are clicking really well in United’s left-hand side with Mitchell who went past defenders again and passed to Bohui who found McTominay free in the final third who overran and was taken down by the goalkeeper. Good minutes from the Reds who got in several actions, yet the referee did everything he could in his hands to slow the game. Things go really well with Riley when he wins the ball, with Bohui and Boonen both being served but since this isn’t happening often United are struggling in that area. Despite losing a penalty, Mitchell keeps trying hard as he moves wide again. However the break would come from the constant pressure United put on Swansea and it paid off as it was Boonen who at first cut short, then Bohui’s shot was deflected as well. Scott McTominay tried his luck as well, but it had to be Indy Boonen’s final touch who turned United back in the game.
United clearly wanted to win this game as they kept pressuring again with Indy Boonen and Scott McTominay combining well between them while Joel Pereira was always in good position to deny Swansea a second. The referee signaled six minutes of injury time, plenty of time to see one of the teams win the game. Frustration grew among Manchester United players as Matthew Willock couldn’t get that winner. Swansea responded on the other side but the defence was definitely being more careful and they cleared the ball easily. With only a couple of minutes left, Demetri Mitchell pass saw Indy Boonen who made a nice return but his shot couldn’t get past the goalkeeper. No late minute surprises as Scott McTominay was in position to win another aerial duel. Six minutes of added time came to an end and Manchester United saved a point as it felt that the game was out of their hands for most of the time, but with the pressure they constantly put in Swansea’s final third everything changed.
Goals: Indy Boonen 79′
Manchester United: J. Pereira; Olosunde, Williams (Warren 3′), Tuanzebe, Shaw (Riley 58′); Willock, McTominay; Young (Kehinde 58′), Boonen, Mitchell; Bohui
Substitutes Not Used: Richardson, Hamilton