Late Markanday strike earns Under-23s a point at United
Manchester United 1-1 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Mon 10 January 2022, 21:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Dilan Markanday once again left it late against Manchester United as he struck five minutes from time to rescue us a point in the north west on Monday night.
Having scored an injury-time winner against United as we edged the reverse fixture 1-0 back in October, the forward continued his impressive Premier League 2 form this season with another goal just when we needed it most at Leigh Sports Village.
Despite the full-time score, we should have been home and dry in the opening 45 minutes having produced no less than 14 attempts at goal, including a penalty miss by Nile John. However, as the old adage goes, if you don’t take your chances, you will be punished, and so we were on 80 minutes as the Red Devils converted a spot-kick of their own via Shola Shoretire.
We were not to leave empty handed, though, as Markanday drilled home his 12th goal of the season five minutes later to extend our unbeaten league run to seven games.
The first half was as one-sided a 45 minutes as you could imagine, but it didn’t bring the reward that it truly deserved. Despite the hosts enjoying two chances on the counter, both skewed wide by Charlie McNeill, we created more than a hatful of opportunities in the first period but could not find a way to break the deadlock.
Within the opening four minutes, Markanday had two opportunities to force us in front – the first, a charge down on goalkeeper Matej Kovar’s attempted clearance and the second a curler from 12 yards – both ending up the wrong side of the left-hand upright. Harvey White then drilled past the opposite post three minutes later.
Enforcing a high press on United, John then tested Kovar twice, stinging the keeper’s hands from the angle before stretching him down to his left as he sent an effort towards the bottom right-hand corner of the net. We then saw volleys from Brooklyn-Lyons Foster and Markanday fly over the bar before our clearest opening of the half arrived. As Markanday was sent racing down the wing and into the box on 25 minutes, his ankles were clipped by the covering Alvaro Fernandez. The referee duly awarded the spot-kick, but taker John slipped on his run-up before sending the ball high over the frame of the goal.
Lyons-Foster and Michael Craig both then sent efforts off target before we tested Kovar once more through Markanday. With three minutes of the half remaining, John subsequently grazed the outside of the post, striking from the edge of the box. That effort was a trick our hosts replicated just five minutes into the second period, as they came out with the bit between their teeth. After Josh Oluwayemi was called on to make his first save of the game, blocking Isak Hanson-Aaroen’s instinctive poke towards goal with his feet, Marc Juardo cannoned the ball off the right-hand post.
And it was with United that the momentum remained as, unlike the first half, things in the second period didn’t quite click for us. While we enjoyed plenty of possession, it was the men in red that were winning the second balls and, most notably, finding the final pass. The change in tide saw Oluwayemi called into action much more as the minutes ticked on. Come 70 minutes he made a fine save to deny Shola Shoretire’s fierce effort from 12 yards out before being called upon once again five minutes later to prevent Joe Hugill from similar range.
It wasn’t long before United did break the deadlock. Being awarded a penalty of their own after a challenge in the box from Lyons-Foster on Shoretire, the winger dusted himself off and sent Oluwayemi the wrong way to give his side the lead.
We were not to be undone, however, and Markanday wasn’t to be denied. On 82 minutes, Kovar may have prevented the forward from providing an almost-instant response but, on 85, the keeper didn’t stand a chance as Markanday emphatically rifled home our equaliser from a near-identical position. In the final minutes, we threw caution to the wind as we looked to take all three points but, unfortunately, we were unable to create anything of note and were forced to settle for a point. The draw, however, further extends our Under-23s’ unbeaten run, with Wayne Burnett’s side last tasting defeat in the league back in October.
‘Sometimes the result doesn’t always necessarily reflect the performance’
Despite being unable to take victory over United, Under-23s Coach Wayne was pleased with how we imposed ourselves on the game: “We go into every game looking to win. It was disappointing that we didn’t capitalise on the opportunities that we made for ourselves in the first half, but our effort and endeavour… some of our play was outstanding,” he explained. “I said to the players at half-time, if you continue to play like that on a consistent basis, we’ll win more games than we lose, but it all comes back to the way in which we conduct and apply ourselves on the training pitch every day – this is just a result of those processes.
“The pleasing thing for us is the number of chances we created – 14 in the first half alone – and we never really looked troubled – we dominated the ball and got into our rhythm fairly quickly. The second half was slightly different, but I still felt we were in control. We gave away a silly goal, but I’m really pleased in the way in which we responded to that and with the performance overall. Obviously, we’re disappointed with the result, but a lot of our actions today were consistent with our work on the training pitch. Sometimes the result doesn’t always necessarily reflect the performance and I thought, certainly in the first half, and parts of the second half, our performance was very, very good.”
Manchester United 1-1 Spurs (Premier League 2)
Manchester United: Kovar (c), Hardley, Fish, Jurado, Fernandez, Svidersky, Hanson-Aaroen (Savage 61), Iqbal, Shoretire, McNeill (Hugill 70), Garnacho (Mainoo 61). Substitutes (not used): Mastny, McShane.
Spurs: Oluwayemi, Cesay, Lavinier, Lyons-Foster, Fagan-Walcott, Matthew Craig, White (c) (Santiago 74), Mundle (Williams 89), Michael Craig, John, Markanday. Substitutes (not used): Lo-Tutala, Lusala.
Goals: United – Shoretire 80; Markanday 85.
Yellow cards: United – Shoretire 90; Spurs – Markanday 57.
Referee: Aaron Jackson.
Venue: Leigh Sports Village.
Weather: Chilly with clear skies, nine degrees.