Charlie McCann double gives Manchester United U23s comeback victory vs Southampton

Two goals in three minutes from Charlie McCann saw Manchester United U23s come from behind away to Southampton in the second half and continue their climb in Premier League 2.

McCann stepped up in the absence of Shola Shoretire, Hannibal Mejrbi, Amad Diallo and Anthony Elanga. He provided two quality goals to give United three points after a game in which both sides had seen great chances go wasted.

Manchester United XI vs Southampton: Kovar; Taylor, Fish, Devine; Neville, Svidersky, Galbraith, McCann, Fernandez; Hugill, Helm.

Subs: Mastny, Emeran, Hoogewerf

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

After the National League North season was declared null and void and ended, Max Taylor returned to Manchester United and gave Neil Wood greater depth in defence. With his return, United played five-at-the-back; Alvaro Fernandez and Harvey Neville were the wing-backs.


Southampton’s goalkeeper Jack Bycroft captained the home side. He was called into action early, making a good double-save off of Charlie McCann and Svidersky. Matej Kovar matched him soon after, standing up tall to deny Jayden Smith in a one-on-one, locking the number nine’s effort with his right leg.

United had the better chances of the first half and should have taken the lead. Bycroft denied Helm with a decent save but it was Joe Hugill who had the best opportunities.

When Bycroft came out of his goal to pick up a loose ball, Hugill put the pressure on, forced him to fumble it and duly took the shot. His first attempt was blocked off the line by a defender and he took his time with the second, lining it up for the far right corner. Instead, it hit the post.

Joe Hugill misses gilt-edged chances as United held in first half

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Seven minutes later, with half-time approaching, Hugill was played through by the impressive Svidersky. He took two touches when one would have sufficed, struggling to get the ball out of his feet and as he pulled back to shoot, a Southampton defender nipped in and prevented him from doing so.

A McCann curled long shot tried to make amends but United went in level. He came close just after the break too. Ethan Galbraith then tested Bycroft with a fantastic right-footed free-kick.

Hugill’s shooting boots were missing when it mattered most and Dillon Hoogewerf replaced him an hour in. Kovar came up big again to deny Smith once again but when Kazeem Olaigbe struck a powerful, swerving drive at him, he could do nothing to stop it. Fish had won and then lost the ball on the halfway line, Olaigbe drove forward and when the space opened up, let rip on a great shot. Kovar’s fingertips tickled it but it was too good.

Charlie McCann scores two goals in three minutes

It appeared as if United would go home disappointed having seen good chances wasted. McCann made sure that was not the case. He controlled a Will Fish cross in stunning fashion, bringing it down and turning in one movement, taking one more stride and tucking it into the bottom left corner.

Two minutes later, he scored again. Hoogewerf drove forward on the counter-attack, pinged a ball to the left wing where McCann awaited and the Irishman cut inside, paused and curled a shot into the far right sidenetting. United took the three points.

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Life-long Manchester United fan with a strong interest in the club's academy. Host of the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. First game at Old Trafford was the 7-1 rout of AS Roma in 2007.