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Under-21s held at United

Manchester United 2-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Fri 28 April 2023, 21:00|Tottenham Hotspur

Our Under-21s had to settle for a point after a battling away display at Manchester United in the Premier League 2 on Friday evening.

After a highly competitive start to the game, United took the lead on 13 minutes through Noah Emeran before we responded brilliantly with Romaine Mundle firing us level in style three minutes later.

Full of energy after the break, we brought the game to the Red Devils and completed the turnaround  eight minutes after the restart as Nile John steered home from range. However, just five minutes later, United got themselves back on terms as Joe Hugill latched onto Dan Gore’s through-ball to level the scores.

The game became frenetic in the closing stages as we bravely went in search of the much-needed three points but the spoils were ultimately shared meaning nothing less than a victory is required for our Development Squad in next week’s season finale against West Ham United.

Knowing that avoiding defeat would be enough to keep our survival hopes alive, we looked up for the fight in the opening stages with Jamie Donley testing United keeper Radek Vitek with the game’s first shot on target 11 minutes in. However, despite our early endeavours, we found ourselves behind in the 13th minute, Emeran latching onto Charlie Wellen’s long ball over the top and applying a low finish past Josh Keeley.

With work to do, our reaction to going a goal down was excellent and the inspired Mundle brought us level just minutes later, punishing Will Kambwala’s loose pass out of the United defence with a stunning finish for his third goal in as many games. Then, in the 19th minute, we almost had the lead when Mundle showed dazzling skill to cut in from the left before unleashing another curling effort which Vitek gratefully held at the second attempt as Damola Ajayi tried to pounce. United's best chance to go ahead saw Omari Forson force a fine save from Keeley a minute later before Mundle carved out another golden opportunity on 21 minutes, showing great feet to nutmeg Kambwala but his close-range attempt was saved.

Nile John gave us a deserved lead after the interval, skipper Matthew Craig dispossessing Isak Hansen-Aaroen down our right and playing through his midfield partner who jinked inside the defender and placed a lovely left-foot finish which left the United stopper rooted to the spot. Our lead didn’t last long, however, when five minutes later the Red Devils’ striker Hugill applied a neat first-time finish after substitute Gore’s cutting pass through the heart of our backline. With just over 20 minutes to play, there was a moment to remember for 15-year-old Mikey Moore who came on for his Under-21s debut - making history as our youngest player to feature at this age group since the formation of the division - as Development Squad coach Wayne Burnett made an attacking change in search of a winner.

As the game neared its conclusion, neither side looked content with a point and United striker Hugill came a whisker away from giving his side the lead on 77 minutes before debutant Moore superbly picked out Brooklyn Lyons-Foster who applied the finish but was soon flagged for offside with three minutes to play. Although we pushed on to win the game, it was vital we didn’t lose either and we defended admirably to block United substitute Mateo Mejia’s chance late on as the spoils were shared at Leigh Sports Village.

Manchester United 2-2 Spurs (Premier League 2)

Manchester United: Vitek, Jurado, Hardley, Mengi (c) (Murray 46), Kambwala, Wellens (Collyer 52), Oyedele (Gore 46), Forson, Hansen-Aaoren (Mejia 65), Emeran, Hugill. Substitutes (not used): Wooster.

Spurs: Keeley, Robson (Moore 66), Abbott, Dorrington, Lyons-Foster, Craig (c), John (Cassanova 80), Donley, Ajayi, Santiago (Mathurin 89), Mundle. Substitutes (not used): Maguire, Sayers.

Match data

Goals: Manchester United – Emeran 13, Hugill 58; Spurs – Mundle 16, John 53.

Yellow cards: Manchester United - Collyer 55, Jurado 79; Spurs – Lyons-Foster 51, Donley 89.

Referee: Michael Barlow.

Venue: Leigh Sports Village, Manchester.

Weather: Sunny, light breeze, 15 degrees.