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Loughborough Students FC 0 – 2 Manchester United Youth XI

There was an air of excitement and anticipation surrounding this match, with Loughborough taking on a prolific Manchester United side. Looking to improve on their form from the last time these two teams met, when a Manchester United XI won 6-2, the students warmed up with intent in front of a healthy crowd at the Loughborough University Stadium.

The home side began the match with discipline, maintaining shape consistently, paired with pressuring the visitors defence whenever in possession. This quality of discipline was clear with Manchester doing well to switch the ball from either side in order to find the target, but to no avail. Unfortunately, the deadlock was broken by the travelling side after eight minutes by Shaun Goss after neat buildup play around the box.

This didn’t deter the Students with Alun Webb’s continued efforts to put the keeper off when the ball was passed back, leaving little time for Manchester’s Henderson to react. This labour nearly bared fruits with a deflection of the ball back to goal but just trickled past the post. Nevertheless, Sam Downey continued to control the midfield, when in possession, by playing neat passes through to Kurtis Revan in order to beat the offside trap.

Credit Neil Plumb

Credit Neil Plumb

A notable performance by Elliot Legg ensured the visitors reduced their chances of converting goal scoring opportunities, by putting his body on the line in order to block the incoming shots of the Manchester United attack. This was exercised throughout by the home team, showing the dedication and pride of wearing the Loughborough shirt.

Again, in the second half the home side began strong, resulting in a free kick being conceded this ultimately built up the confidence of the team, forcing the Youth XI to clear the ball under ever growing pressure. The final third proved indecisive for the boys in purple leaving them to persevere and be patient when looking for a goal. Yet despite this, after fifty-three minutes the Away side nearly looked to double their tally, with Wilocks shot rebounding off the crossbar. Little time had passed when Manchester capitalised on an unfortunate error between the keeper and the defence, leading to a clinical finish past Jack Howard.

AM2Z6811 600pxNevertheless, the Students were never in doubt of reducing their efforts to play good football, with fast linkup play between Hill and Webb. On the night Loughborough were unlucky not to pull a goal back with Poxon hitting the post only to be followed up and hit skyward by the Captain Minihan.

Unlucky were the home side as enduring chances continued to be made, despite the fact that a majority of the second half forced the Students into a defensive line up. Ben Ward-Cochrane’s last minute effort being adjudged offside, after the ball ended up in the back of the net, could do little to dispel Manchester’s clinical performance.

Still the experience of such a big match will continue to develop these young players and maintain the sporting prowess of the University. With hopefully a more regular fixture between the two teams, a showcase of entertainment was definitely delivered.

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By Harriet Eastham