Barclays U-21 Premier League
Friday 28 Sep, Altrincham FC
MANCHESTER UNITED 4
(Macheda 14, 53, Petrucci 33, Henriquez 90)
(Maddison 19, Inman 36)
United U21 4 Newcastle U21 2
United maintained a 100 per cent record in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League with Angelo Henriquez marking his debut with the final goal in a 4-2 triumph against Newcastle.
The Chilean came off the bench to make a great start in the red shirt after Italian stars Federico Macheda (2) and Davide Petrucci combined to help overcome the dogged Magpies. The victory takes United to the top of the table and it was another fine advertisement for this level of football despite the dreadful weather.
Jonathan Hooper, Romain Amalfitano and Mehdi Abied all rained early shots on Sam Johnstone’s goal but it was the Reds who drew first blood on 14 minutes. Petrucci’s wonderful tackle on Amalfitano allowed him to release his pal Macheda, who displayed his pace before clipping a left-footed finish wide of Jak Alnwick.
As torrential rain made playing conditions difficult, Robbie Brady skidded a free-kick into the side-netting before an equaliser arrived from Alnwick’s mis-hit goal-kick. The ball went to Bradden Inman, who put Marcus Maddison through to confidently fire past Johnstone.
With both sides committed to attack, Jesse Lingard and Petrucci shovelled efforts well wide and Adam Campbell saw a shot cannon off Johnstone’s heel and behind from a one-on-one situation. Curtis Good was unable to get a touch from a far-post free-kick as the visitors created the clearer openings but a beautiful goal edged United in front again soon afterwards.
Macheda flicked a Ryan Tunnicliffe pass into the path of Lingard, who teed up Petrucci for a disguised finish into the bottom corner for his fourth goal in three games against the Magpies. Unfortunately, the lead was again short-lived as Inman danced past Tom Thorpe to crack home for 2-2 following a neat pass by the impressive Amalfitano.
As Nicky Butt, who represented both clubs with distinction, watched on from the United dug-out, Brady drilled across goal after the sweetest of one-twos with Larnell Cole and Tunnicliffe dragged wide after being well found by Tyler Blackett.
The second half started with the Reds looking dangerous but Joshua King could only clip against the outside of a post after some poor defending allowed him to chase down a Petrucci pass. Instead, Macheda regained the lead with a diving header from close range after Petrucci nodded Cole’s superb cross into the danger zone.
Lingard skied a chance following good work by Tunnicliffe but there were less openings at both ends, even if Maddison did work Johnstone with a powerful shot. Henriquez’s introduction added an extra buzz to proceedings and he managed a shot on target after one mazy dribble.
Johnstone made a top-drawer save to prevent Hooper’s drive from arrowing into the top corner but United hit back with King wasting a decent opportunity after more good work by Tunnicliffe and Henriquez’s header forcing an excellent tip-over by Alnwick.
With time running out, Hooper again brought the best out of Johnstone but there was late joy for Henriquez when he nodded in King’s inviting chip following yet more progressive play by Tunnicliffe. Six goals, plenty of entertainment and a satisying third successive win for Warren Joyce’s side in the new Under-21 league.
United: Johnstone, Cole (Henriquez 68), Thorpe, Fornasier, Blackett (Veseli 46); Brady, Tunnicliffe, Petrucci, Lingard, King (McGinty 92); Macheda. Subs not used: Gollini, James.