Stalybridge 2 United XI 1
Tuesday 11 September
Bower Fold, Stalybridge
STALYBRIDGE CELTIC 2
(Austin, 20; Sherriff, 73)
MANCHESTER UNITED XI 1
Alexander Büttner and Darren Fletcher were both on duty as a Manchester United XI slipped to a narrow defeat against Stalybridge Celtic at Bower Fold.
The Reds scored first against the non-league neighbours, but Celtic fought back well to claim the spoils with a goal 17 minutes from time.
Latecomers were still finding their places in the ground when United opened the scoring. Barely eight minutes had passed when Federico Macheda latched on to a corner from the left to squeeze the ball past Alex Cairns in the Celtic goal.
United had started brightly and were looking capable of testing the Celtic defence with each attack. The hosts took a little longer to get into their stride, but there was a couple of occasions early on when Reds goalkeeper Sam Johnstone needed to be alert.
The home began to grow in confidence and in the 20th minute they found the equaliser. Former United starlet Jamie Mullan was the architect of the goal with a beautiful through ball which split the Reds’ defence. The pass found teammate Mitchell Austin and he took the chance with relish to fire a low shot past Johnstone.
United should have been in front at the break after decent chances fell to Jesse Lingard and Macheda, but both failed to find the net.
Warren Joyce’s players began to enjoy the lion’s share of possession as the second half progressed but opportunities in front of goal were less frequent than earlier in the evening.
Celtic’s forays into the United half were also limited, but in the 73rd minute, and against the flow of play, they moved into the lead. Jordan Barrow sent a long ball forward, which dropped behind the United defence and into the path of Dennis Sherriff. One of Celtic’s raft of substitutes, Sherriff advanced before hitting a low shot past Johnstone.
Ryan Tunnicliffe was presented with a great chance to put the Reds level three minutes from time, but the midfielder pulled his shot just wide of the post.
United: Johnstone, Fornasier, Büttner (Blackett, 82), Fletcher, Keane M., Thorpe, Cole (Daehli, 79), Tunnicliffe, Macheda, Petrucci, Lingard. Subs not used: Pereira J. (GK), Hendrie.