A Manchester United Under-23 side, which included Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and Mason Greenwood, made it four wins in a row with a 3-1 victory over Stoke City.
United’s talented trio were given some much-needed game time at the Leigh Sports Village on Friday night.
A quick United counter in the fifth minute saw Ethan Laird released down the right and he whipped a perfect cross into Greenwood who bundled the ball into an empty net after the Stoke goalkeeper fell over.
The visitors equalised in the 36th minute after a good move down the left saw a ball across the box evade all of United’s defenders before Gabriel Kyeremateng calmly slotted past Paul Woolston.
Dylan Levitt had to be withdrawn at half-time after being on the wrong end of a reckless tackle. He looked to be in a lot of pain, the Welshman tried to run it off in the later stages of the first half.
Hopefully the injury doesn’t mean he misses out on any games, with his role becoming increasingly influential in the absence of James Garner.
Gomes, who was the captain on the night, restored United’s lead in the 51st minute with a beautifully composed finish, which left one of the Stoke defenders on his backside after falling for Gomes’ dummy.
Gomes then had the chance to double his tally on the night from the penalty spot, but the England U20 international joined Pogba and Rashford in becoming another United player to miss one this season. It was a tame spot kick.
Largie Ramazani scored within 33 seconds of coming off the bench after a Stoke corner was hoofed clear and when the Stoke defender didn’t deal with it, Ramazani latched on and raced the length of the half, dummied the keeper then slotted home in the 62nd minute.
After picking up a knock and being booked for re-entering the pitch without seeking the permission of the referee, Gomes was replaced in the 78th minute.
Neil Wood’s attentions will now turn to EFL Trophy clash against Doncaster on Tuesday.
Here are three players who had an impressive evening.
The 18-year-old put in another eye catching performance and capped off a great week after making his comeback against Swansea and then being picked in the senior squad for the trip to Belgrade.
Laird went on a lung busting run early in the match and collected a perfectly weighted pass from Mellor, before whipping in a teasing cross for Greenwood, which was just too inviting to miss.
United’s right-back showcased his great crossing ability once again in the 40th minute, this time it was Mellor the beneficiary, but his header was straight at the keeper, he should have scored.
In first half added time, Laird showed he is more than capable of fulfilling his defensive duties, he was outnumbered with a 2v1 scenario, but he showed his jockeying and concentration skills, before making a perfectly executed sliding tackle.
He was very solid in the defensive and attacking phases. It is only a matter of time before he makes his senior debut.
United’s afro man was dangerous all night and his performance deserved a goal to crown off a confidence boosting evening.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have been delighted with the attitude Chong showed and he may have played himself into the Norwegian’s plans for the midweek Chelsea game.
Chong showed off his mazy dribbling skills and drove into the box with purpose where he was upended, before Gomes missed the penalty.
It is clear that Chong is too good for this level, but the minutes on the pitch will do wonders for his self-belief and sharpness.
After struggling to get first team minutes, Greenwood looked eager to make an impression and get on the scoresheet from the very first whistle, with him starting in his favoured number nine role.
His first sight of goal came in the third minute after he was played through delightfully by Chong, but Greenwood could only hit his shot straight at the keeper. The 18-year-old should have done better.
After scoring in the 5th minute, it was Gomes who then played Greenwood in, but again his effort was thwarted. He could have had a hat-trick in the opening 15 minutes.
Greenwood was seen on the right-hand side during periods after he swapped positions with Mellor. He also showed his vision after releasing Chong, after his effort was parried wide.
He was replaced just after the hour mark, with a place on the bench against Norwich on Sunday very likely.
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