Joe Hugill scores first Manchester United academy goal since February in EFL Trophy win

Manchester United’s under-21 side beat Bradford City in an impressive EFL Trophy win.

United were without the suspended Hannibal, who starred in the previous match.

Veteran Paul McShane lined up in defence for United alongside the group of younger players, with Matej Kovar in goal.

After a goalless first half which saw Shola Shoretire have a goal disallowed for offside, United broke the deadlock after the break.

Charlie Savage drove in a shot after the ball rebounded to the edge of the penalty area following a corner. It had been heading wide, before it deflected in off defender Yann Songo’o and was given as an own goal.


Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Just before the hour mark striker Joe Hugill made it two from close range to score his first goal of the season.

Dillon Hoogewerf wrapped it up with a superb goal to make it 3-0 after a Shola Shoretire assist.

Bradford had made 10 changes to their side which played at the weekend, so it was worth noting this was not their first choice XI. It was an achievement nonetheless for United u23/u21 side, who have now won two games in a row after a league victory over Brighton’s under-23s at the weekend.

How Hugill broke his scoring drought

Hugill’s goal came after great work from half-time substitute Dillon Hoogewerf. The Dutchman ran at the Bradford defence on the right and crossed a low ball in to leave Hugill with a simple tap in.

It was not the most spectacular strike, but Hugill won’t care. He needed it.

Despite being called up to train with the first team over the international break and featuring in pre-season, Hugill has been dealing with a goal drought.

He began 2021 in outstanding form, scoring four against Liverpool under-23s and following that up with goals in consecutive games against Blackburn and then Arsenal.

After that the goals began to dry up for the young striker and his tally for the season ended on 16 in all competitions. He played five further matches without a goal and then missed the end of the season with an injury.

Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Hugill had started three games for the under-23s this season without scoring, and also led the line in the UEFA Youth League game, failing to net.

Now after a run of seven months, nine academy level games without a goal, and two first team pre-season substitute appearances, Hugill is back on the scoresheet.

Strikers thrive off confidence and the goal will do wonders for Hugill. His season is now up and running.

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