Manchester United u23’s returned to winning ways on Friday night with a 2-0 victory at the Leigh sports village. Goals from Zak Dearnley and Ethan Hamilton in the first half provided a nice cushion for United to hang on to and claim their first victory in four.
It was a very closely fought game, with Boro unlucky not to go into the break on level terms if only for a little more accuracy. This was a must win game for United. Having started the season in impressive form going eight undefeated, the reds had hit a bit of a brick wall in the last few weeks with only one point collected out of a possible nine available. They returned back to Leigh sports village for the first time since the surprise defeat to Newcastle which ended in a 4-1 hammering.
From the first minute United looked determined and it showed that Ricky Sbragia had his men well up for this one. After this first couple of minutes United could have been easily three up, with chances falling to Joshua Bohui, Tahith Chong and Ro-Shaun Williams.
The early pressing and attacking threat was a feature of United’s game and it didn’t take them long to break the deadlock, when Dearnley picked up the ball and fired past Boro keeper Bradley James.
After the goal United seem to ease off and this invited Boro back into the game, with them having what was a clear goal bound shot from Amadou Sylla cleared. The visitors had more chances before the break with Dan Ward firing over the bar and Stephen Walker easily having enough opportunities to claim the match ball.
Instead, Sbragia’s men doubled the lead in first half stoppage time when Hamilton’s low shot took a deflection and sailed past substitute keeper Zach Hemming.
The game was a very tight affair with only the two goals from United splitting the sides and the second half was much the same with both defences holding one another out, with the best chance falling to Boro’s number 9 Walker who again spurned another opportunity with a header going past the post.
The win sees United rise to third in the Premier League 2 table, two points from joint leaders Wolves and Reading, while Middlesbrough remain in seventh position. Next up for United is a top of the table clash away to Reading on the 16th.