Academy Report: Man United 2-0 Sheff United (A) 10/09/11
Man United U18′s (4-4-2): Jacob, Hendrie, McCullough, Dalley, Blackett, Barmby, Weir, Rothwell, van Velzen, Lawrence, Byrne Subs: Daehli, McNair Subs not used: Coll, Pearson, Ekangamene
Man United goalscorers (2): Barmby 21, Van Velzen 65
Sheffield United goalscorers (0):
The Red Devils finally got their second win of the Academy league season yesterday in what was a comfortable performance in which United didn’t really get out of 3rd gear. Both teams were passing it around well in midfield, but up front there was a lack of penetration and very little goalmouth action to write home about to be perfectly blunt. Another feature of the match which was quite irksome was the fact the U16′s were playing on an adjacent pitch, cue the balls from either game finding themselves in a different match and proceedings constantly having to be brought to a long halt. Fortunately, United’s rejigged defence was rock solid and the likes of Van Velzen and Barmby, had enough about them to put the Blades to the sword when the chances presented themselves.
First Half (1-0)
The game got off to a flying start with the impressive Tom Lawrence making a statement of intent, firing an early shot just wide of Willis’ goal. The Blades responded with a fantastic 25 yard effort from Whitehouse, striking a fearsome shot which skipped off the surface and was saved by the acrobatic Australian Jacobs, flying to his right in the 11th minute. The next period of play was all United however and involved great work by Bryne, in the 19th minute going on a great jinking run into the box before failing to locate an unmarked team mate and then in the 21st minute, making a smart run which was located by a magnifcent lofted pass by Lawrence.. setting him one v one on the keeper Willis, who smothered him but ulitmately failed to see out the danger as Barmby hit the rebound from outside the box and put it away with aplomb. United 1-0, although it took 20 minutes before there was any hint of another serious effort on goal, a dangerous corner cleared off the line by Sheffield United and then Van Velzen going on a typical step-over crazy run, cutting in from the right side and unleashing a powerful shot which was kept out by a combination of the Blade’s keeper and the post. United went in with a well-deserved lead but one couldn’t help but feel, both sides lacked abit of bite.
Second half (2-0)
The second half got off to a controversial start as Van Velzen was put through on goal but seemed to go down, the referee ignored the incident and waved play on, but the Red’s seemed to be in disbelief. In the 54th minute, Lawrence went on a silky gliding run taking on all comers but this time failed to find the killer ball. Proceedings recieved a further boost when Daehli was introduced in the 60th minute, who caught the eye whenever he had the ball at his feet. He ran at the opposition defence time and time again, yet it was his early contribution which was to prove the most telling. In the 64th minute it was his neat pass which allowed Weir to spin off his man inside the box and unleash a curling thunderbolt which was not dealt with completely by Willis and allowed Van Velzen to sneak in and put away the rebound to make it 2-0. The next period of the game was the Lawrence & Daehli show, both playing neatly in tight areas, passing and moving the Blades into a frenzy. However the danger of Sheffield was not completely snuffed out and they managed a dangerous passage of play in the 80th minute, whipping in a dangerous cross which was well cleared out due to excellent positioning and reading of the game by Dalley.. although for a seconds there, one wouldn’t have been blamed for thinking all the ingredients were there for a spectacular own goal. So it ended 2-0 and it was probably a fair result, although on the balance of play in terms of possession it should’ve been more in United’s favour.
5 Things I Noticed
1. Blackett at left-back: The defence looked more balanced and solid today with him moved out from centre and McCulloch looked far more settled. I still get the feeling that with Tyler, its difficult to guage his potential and best position, although he performed at left-back more than competently.
2. Van Velzen: Once again looked heads and shoulders above any one else on the pitch, but what was particularly impressive today was his tracking back and hold-up play, ugly sides of the game but which are essential. he performed both well.
3. Tom Lawrence: Very solid performance today, full of guile and vision. My man of the match if Van Velzen wasn’t on the pitch.
4. Daehli: If he can put this type of performance in over 90 minutes, he will be a force to be reckoned with in this division. The full back cramping due to Daehli’s torture of him was testament to his agility and aggression yesterday.
5. Centre-Back Pairing: Dalley and McCulloch, both did very well today. It felt natural and settled, both struck it off quite well. Look forward to seeing them fare against tougher teams.