Finley McAllister became the youngest player to represent Manchester United at under-18s level, breaking a record previously set by Angel Gomes, as the Reds were beaten at home by Derby County.
Manager Neil Ryan oversaw a remarkably young United team on Saturday morning, handing debuts to five players on the same day.
It was another game in which onlookers berated the standard of officiating at youth level. With a young side, United’s players suffered from overly lenient refereeing which allowed some of Derby’s heavier challenges to go criminally unpunished.
Neil Ryan gives Man United U18s debuts to five players
Louis Jackson (U15) and Maxi Oyedele (U16) were handed debuts from the start while Dan Gore (U16) and Sam Murray (U16) made their first starts at this level. Kobbie Mainoo also started, another under-16.
Only 21 minutes in, McAllister became United’s youngest-ever player at this level, replacing the injured Iestyn Hughes. Ryan’s side are having a hard time with injuries at the moment.
Mainoo and Garnacho impressed when on the flanks, the former pushing down the right and pulling it back to Gore. His effort was blocked, allowing Alfie Roberts in goal to claim it.
Charlie McNeill scores 13th goal in 12 games
Charlie McNeill’s goalscoring form continued in fantastic fashion with his 13th goal in 12 games at this level. Only minutes earlier, the English striker had shot and missed when he could have set up the lively Garnacho. He made no such mistake with his second chance, given to him after Garnacho won the ball off his man. McNeill’s first effort was saved but he duly finished the rebound.
By the end of the half, Derby had levelled. United’s defence poked a clearance out, Derby’s subsequent cross was allowed to bounce on the penalty spot and Malik Mothersille chested it down and finished brilliantly.
Derby took the lead and charge of the game in the second half. They went ahead for the first time after a free-kick on the right-wing. It was a decent ball towards the near post and Clarke finished it. His movement was good but United’s defenders will want to track their men better than that in future.
Johan Guadagno, the 18-year-old Milan-born Swede in goal for United, made a couple of good saves to keep United in the game. Garnacho continued to threaten and one poor challenge sent him down onto the floor, screaming in pain. The referee gave nothing but a free-kick. At first team level, it could have been a red.
Finley McAllister impresses in record-breaking debut for United
More debuts came as United tried to get back into the game. Ollie Kilner replaced Mainoo but before long a decent Derby free-kick from Aghatise had beaten Guadagno.
United battled well and McAllister had an excellent game off the bench. Ryan will be pleased with his side’s performance. The Reds were simply beaten by a stronger and more experienced side. It’s a good experience.
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