Led by hat-trick scoring Alejandro Garnacho, Manchester United U18s asserted their dominance in U18 Premier League North with a comfortable and stylish victory at home to Stoke City.
Although Neil Ryan’s side is focused on development ahead of results, the race for the title adds some spice to the back end of the season. United are now five points clear of their rivals Manchester City and six of Liverpool.
United U18s go five points clear at top of Premier League
Spanish winger Alejandro Garnacho put United ahead after only three minutes, tapping in from the poacher’s spot after a good cross in from the right-wing by Charlie McNeill.
Dermot Mee made a great save to deny Jai Verna with United’s lead only one goal, pushing away a header destined for the bottom right corner.
United hit four goals in good first-half display vs Stoke
After a one-two with Omari Forson, Isak Hansen-Aaroen finished with precision into the far left corner from outside the box. Stoke brought themselves back into a game they had been dominated in when Jai Verna broke through one-on-one with Mee, skipped past the United ‘keeper and finished into an empty net.
By half-time, two nicely-worked goals from United had taken the game away from their opponents. Forson was first, poking a ball to Hoogewerf on the edge of the box, sprinting further forward and latching onto the Dutch striker’s brilliant backheel; the finish at the near post was good.
Alejandro Garnacho scores first half double for United U18s
Two minutes later, Garnacho finished off a similar move, playing a one-two with McNeill and finishing past Parke from close range.
It should have been five after 64 minutes when McNeill scuffed a loose, airborne ball in front of an open goal. Half a minute after the English striker held his head in his hands, he made up for his error, finishing first-time through the legs of Parke from the right-wing cross of Hoogewerf. It was the hard work and intelligent pressing of Hoogewerf that made the chance as Stoke attempted to play out from the back.
Garnacho finishes hat-trick off in second half
McNeill continued to act more as provider than goalscorer, swinging back a cross from the right side of the box where Garnacho waited to complete his hat-trick in the same style with which he had begun it in the third minute. Daniel Gore, on as a sub, had initiated the chance with a good run and through ball.
United’s attacking play was superb throughout and deserving of victory with a comprehensive margin.
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