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The Academy: Sheff Utd (0 v 2) MUFC

Beating Leeds United 3-1 last week Manchester United Academy got their first three points of the season and were sixth in the Premier Academy League Group C, six points behind the leaders, Manchester City. The Academy travelled to Sheffield to play their fourth league game of the season against last season’s Youth Cup runners-up Sheffield United.

The game started very sharp with a lot of play in the middle, with Sheffield United seeing the most of the ball but Manchester United defending very well. In the 12th minute, one of Sheffield’s midfielders tried to surprise Liam Jacob, but he made a good save and the home team only got a corner kick. Sheffield were very aggressive, tried to get the ball back just after they lost it, but United defence coped with them quite easily.

We could see a good partnership on the left wing between Tyler Blackett (who played for Reserves on Thursday) and Jack Barmby, they were impressive, but after five minutes of attacking that wing, United started to use van Velzen on the right as well. In 18th minute Sheffield tried to surprise Jacob once agan, but his save was even better than the first one and without a corner kick to rivals. Sam Byrne got a good pass from the wing, but he waited too long to deliver the ball into the penalty area and when van Velzen finally got it, he didn’t have enough space to shoot.

In 21st minute United scored a goal. Thomas Lawrence passed the ball to Byrne and he was 1v1 with the goalkeeper, but he won that battle with United striker. Fortunately, Barmby was running just behind Byrne, so he got that ball and scored an easy goal.

After the scoreline changed, the game looked much different. United had the ball and Sheffield were playing very calmly. They tried again to beat Jacob form outside the penalty area, but their two shots were blocked by United defenders. Two minutes before the half-time, van Velzen nearly scored a goal, he beat Sheffield’s defender very easily, but their goalie made a good save and United got a corner kick.

United started the second half in unlucky fashion with Lawrence’s curling shot striking the bar. It was a good effort, I must admit. The beginning of this half was similar to the first one. In 57th minute Rothwell made a great tackle and stopped Sheffield’s winger. After two minutes United made first substitution, Mats Daehli came on for goalscorer, Jack Barmby.

United scored their second of the game in the 65th minute when James Weir’s shot was saved by the goalkeeper but not gathered, leaving Gyliano van Velzen just in front of him to help himself to an easy goal from four yards.

Van Velzen had a good chance to score his second goal ten minutes later, when Dalley passed the ball from the left into the penalty area, but he was some yards behind it. 16-year old Patrick McNair from Northern Ireland made his Academy debut in 83th minute when he substituted Sam Byrne. After the second goal, the game became a bit dull with Manchester United doing all the attacking and Sheffield United resigning themselves to defeat.

The game was interesting with both teams playing very well, but Manchester United scored two goals and that was the difference. We saw a good performance from United goalkeeper, Liam Jacob. Gyliano van Velzen was dangerous on the wing and the rest of players were in a good form. After losing their first two games of the season, Manchester United beat Leeds United and Sheffield United. Next Saturday United meet Middlesbrough at Carrington (12:00 BST).

Jacob – Hendrie, McCullogh, Dalley, Blackett – van Velzen, Weir, Rothwell, Barmby (Daehli 59′), – Lawrence, Byrne (McNair 83′).

Subs not used: Coll, Pearson, Ekangamene.

Many thanks to Maciek Jagiela for this match report – great contribution.


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