|Opposition||NJ Wythenshawe Juniors|
|Venue||Littleton Road, Salford, M7 3RX, Ayrshire Road Training Ground|
|Competition||Manchester FA - Manchester Youth Cup Under 18s|
|Youth win the cup|
The FC United Youth Team celebrated their end of season with silver as they beat NJ Wythenshaw Juniors 2-1 yesterday. Goals from Dylan Moloney and Stephanos Ioannou came either side of a stunning free kick which brought the Wythenshawe side level.
FC United had started the game as pre-match favourites and were quickest out of the blocks with three good chances in the first ten minutes, including a free kick well saved and a Gage Eme shot just over. Wythenshawe had their first chance when Joe Grantham was called into action to save a shot from their number 20.
The game then settled into a pattern in which Wythenshawe chased and harried FC to deny them the space to play a slick passing game and take whatever came their way. Indeed FC’s best chance in the next 10 minutes came when a Joe Grantham kick took advantage of a strong tail wind to create havoc in the penalty area before finding its way to his opposite number, whilst Wythenshawe came close to taking the lead when a speculative shot into the wind missed by much less than anyone thought possible when it was hit.
Midway through the half FC started to create space with simple pass and move football including a break down the left wing by Josh Burke when his cross was spectacularly headed behind for a corner. Dylan Moloney collected a yellow card for a tackle before the move of the match thus far when Scott Cheetham broke from midfield and threaded the ball through the Wythenshawe defence for Dylan to run on to and score.
It was nearly two soon afterwards when a Gage Eme free kick looked to be going into the top corner before being turned round for a corner by the keeper. Other chances came and went for FC although the closest of those was when a corner from Scott Cheetham made use of the wind to curl towards the goal only to be headed clear by a man on the line just before half time.
Wythenshawe, buoyed by only conceding one goal in the first half, started the second brighter, determined to use the wind to their advantage and had an early free kick saved.
Five minutes into the half Carl Fitton replaced Luke Kolakowski and could have made an instant impact with a shooting chance created by Gage. The keeper was able to save as Carl took perhaps one touch too many. Dylan also came close when he hit the outside of the post with a chance he fashioned for himself.
Wythenshawe continued to press themselves and their man of the match had a shot deflected over with no-one on the FC bench quite sure how. The nature of the game picked up as the tackles became keener and the Wythenshawe number 6 and Ferre Edwards picked up cautions.
Midway through the half Wythenshawe equalised direct from a free kick about thirty yards out, the wind causing a change of direction that beat Joe in the FC goal. Their reaction spoke volumes about how much the game meant to them as the celebratory huddle included just about everybody involved with the club. FC United restored their lead around ten minutes later with a move almost identical to the first only this time it was Gage supplying the killer ball for Stephanos Ioannou.
The game then became a frenetic rush from one end to the other as both sides sought to score but battled manfully to deny the other. Dylan picked up a second yellow for a sliding challenge the referee deemed reckless in the 82nd minute and Ferre followed suit in almost pantomime circumstances as the game rolled into injury time. FC were awarded a free kick in front of the Wythenshawe bench and as footballers the world over have done and will continue to do, tried to roll the ball a little further forward before taking the kick. Wythenshawe protested and the referee ran from the half way line to ask their player to move away and get on with the game. Ferre for some reason then decided to place the ball a little further forward, with predictable consequences.
Wythenshawe sensing that an equaliser sending the game into extra time would give them a considerable advantage, were keen to get the ball of FC anyway they could and their man of the match made sure the red card count matched the scoreline with a fierce challenge that saw Stephanos helped off the pitch and gave Adam Berrisford a 30 second cameo appearance. His presence helped as the last action was a Wythenshawe corner which was headed over the bar and then the whistle blew. The young reds had retained the trophy won last year.
FC United of Manchester:
Joe Grantham, Andy Graham, Jake Haslem, Ferre Edwards, Jordan Dainty, Scott Cheetham, Luke Kolakowski (Carl Fitton 50 mins), Josh Burke, Gage Eme, Dylan Moloney, Stephanos Ioannou (Adam Berrisford 90+4 mins). Subs not used Roshgar Mousa and Nyle Walker.