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U18s: Manchester United 2-3 Bolton

Posted: Sat 22 Mar 2014
Author: Sean Stevens

Youngsters record fourth consecutive victory and league double over their United counterparts

IN BRIEF

Jamie Thomas scored a brace as the club’s under-18s ran out 3-2 winners over their Manchester United counterparts on Saturday morning.

The in-form frontman’s strikes cancelled out the Red Devils’ first half opener, with Nathan Burke’s late strike making sure of the points for David Lee and Tony Kelly’s side.

The hosts did snatch a late consolation, but it was ultimately in vain as Wanderers ran out winners.

FIRST HALF

Buoyed by their previous three consecutive wins, the Whites started the game the brighter of the two sides, but against the run of play the hosts were soon a goal to the good as Ruairi Croskery got on the end of Ben Barber’s cross and fired home past Harry Campbell.

United could have doubled their lead in the tenth minute, this time Ashley Fletcher connecting after being set up by goal scorer Croskery, but his effort was blocked.

The Red Devils broke away again shortly after but Bolton goalkeeper Campbell was quickest off his line from a one on one to put the ball into touch. 

United were undeniably on top in the clash, but the Whites’ defence held firm and soaked up the pressure. 

Bolton came into the game just after the quarter mark, with Thomas mishitting the ball and midfielder Carl Kennedy being first to react, only to lean back and put the ball over.

The chance appeared to breed confidence amongst Wanderers, with Guillermo Torres teeing up Thomas who struck a powerful shot goalbound, but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Dean Henderson. 

Having opened up proceedings, Manchester United's Marcus Rashford exchanged some neat passes with Fletcher moments later which culminated in a shot over the bar from Croskery. 

Rashford then found winger Jordan Thompson with a lofted ball into his path, but his poor control saw the opportunity come to nothing. 

With half an hour gone, Croskery could have had his second as he spun and shot at Campbell from the edge of the Bolton box with the keeper scrambling to the effort which bounced wide. 

As the half drew to its conclusion, a fantastic last ditch tackle was made by Bolton's Jordan Hendrie as Callum Evans skipped around Tyler Garratt and pulled back, but the youngster’s heroics denied him and United the opportunity to extend their lead.

SECOND HALF

As the second period got underway, United enjoyed the first clear cut chance as Croskery played the ball to midfielder Sean Goss who shot wide. 

Bolton then upped the tempo and their urgency with a number of corners being won by the visitors, the first of which almost went straight into the net from Thomas.

Thomas was instrumental again shortly after as he put Elliot Newby through unselfishly who in turn had a powerful shot pushed over for corner.

Bolton’s perseverance would pay off however as in the 56th minute Thomas displayed some neat footwork and beat two men as he powerfully rustled the ball into the corner of the United net.

Wanderers were now well and truly on top in the clash and following a period of sustained pressure, the Whites were awarded a free kick on the edge of the hosts’ box, with Thomas calmly firing home from 30 yards to put the visitors in front. 

Clearly frustrated at having fallen behind, United pushed for an equaliser as the clock ran down but were dealt a killer blow with four minutes remaining as Nathan Burke struck the ball sweetly from the edge of the box to make it three for Bolton, giving the United keeper no chance.

The Red Devils did snatch a late consolation through Fletcher in injury time, but the goal wasn’t enough to dampen Wanderers’ spirits as they held out for another impressive victory.

Bolton:  Campbell, Hendrie, Garratt, Honeyball, Greenhough, Kennedy, Bailey, Burke, Torres, Thomas, Newby. 

Manchester United: Henderson, Evans, Barber, McConnell, Iaonnou, Goss, Rashford, Willock, Fletcher, Croskery (Tuanzebe), Thompson (Riley)