Manchester United’s youngsters put in another impressive display in the EFL Trophy last night.
United’s under-21s held Rochdale to a 0-0 draw, and then gained an extra point by winning the game on penalties.
This was no repeat of the 6-0 victory over Salford in the previous match, but there were reasons for the team lacking a bit of the same attacking fluidity.
James Garner has since been loaned out, while Teden Mengi and Ethan Laird have been promoted to the first team.
Mark Helm, who scored twice against Salford, missed the game with an injury.
This was a very inexperienced United starting XI, none younger than 16-year-old left-back Logan Pye, who joined from Sunderland in the summer.
Pye made his debut for United’s under-18s against Blackburn a fortnight ago, but sat out at the weekend as fellow new boy Alvaro Fernandez Carreras played his first game at left-back.
United’s coaches showed their faith in Pye by calling up the former Sunderland talent to start this game.
Joe Hugill another summer signing from Sunderland, also made the step up from the under-18s, starting the game up front. Hugill is also 16 like Pye, and is only a week older.
He came close to scoring for United, and was denied by the woodwork twice.
Another summer addition to the academy, Isak Hansen-Aaroen- the youngest player in the squad having turned 16 last month, came off the bench in the second half.
Rochdale’s team featured former United trainee Oliver Rathbone, who starred for the club against the Red Devils’ first team 12 months ago as the Football League side took Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to penalties.
United’s hero this time was goalkeeper Ondrej Mastny, who saved a penalty from Rochdale in the second half, along with the follow-up.
This was big for Mastny after conceding five goals to Liverpool’s under-23 side on Friday night, one of which was his fault after a poor clearance.
Mastny, one of the stars of United’s FA Youth Cup run last season, produced more heroics in the penalty shootout.
Mastny made two saves, making it three in total from spot kicks on the night, to give United the win.
Hannibal Mejbri, Charlie McCann, Isak Hansen-Aaroen, and Anthony Elanga scored for United in the shootout.
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