Michael Carrick made his comeback on a football pitch when West Ham were beaten 2-1 Friday night. The lethal partnership of Wilson and Keane yielded two goals equally shared between them and brought United to the top of the U21 league.
Eleven minutes into it, Saidy Janko almost smashed the crossbar in half. Nonetheless, it didn’t last long before United broke the deadlock. Reece James operated as an inverted wing back, as he made an on-the-ball run centrally. He found James Wilson’s feet, who turned around and slotted it into the bottom corner.
Five minutes later, United won a free-kick just outside the box. As Andreas Pereira had wasted his opportunity from a similiar range earlier in the game, he had to accept a spectator’s role when James Wilson let fly… Straight into the wall.
Only a couple of minutes later, James Wilson got through on the right hand side. He turned away from a Hammers defender, got himself into a one-on-one with the keeper, but the finish was, particularly going by his standards, a shambles and ended up straight at the keeper.
At this stage, 30 minutes into the game, West Ham had barely entered United’s box, let alone had a shot on target. Manchester United were on the other hand on the front foot, looking to extend the lead.
But as we know, unconverted chances count for nothing in football. Tyler Blackett failed to tackle the Clarets’ striker Elliott Lee, lost some balance and subsequently got outmuscled, before Lee brought the teams level by finding the top corner.
In other words, the teams were level-pegging when they went into the dressing-rooms for half-time.
James Wilson had a decent opportunity to extend United’s lead after 52 minutes, but the finish went wide. Minutes later, West Ham proved that they hadn’t learned their lesson in the first half, and gave away another free-kick in a dangerous position when Wilson was brought down. Andreas Pereira managed to get a threatening dip on the ball, but unfortunately for United, the effort was pushed wide by the keeper.
Just after the hour mark, Wilson almost got his name on the score sheet again. The West Ham goalkeeper failed to catch James’ half-decent effort, but managed to claim it just in front of Wilson’s feet. Otherwise it would’ve been a certain goal.
Subsequently after, Wilson was subbed off alongside the returning Michael Carrick, with Donald Love and Liam Grimshaw as replacements. Carrick did all right in the middle of the park and will be happy to have evaded injuries and further setbacks in his way back to the first team comeback.
Thirteen minutes from time, United displayed a decent attack. Tom Thorpe ignited it through winning the ball in defence and immediately joining the counter attack. As he lost possession, it ended up at Weir’s feet. He stumbled his way through the West Ham defence, and slightly off balance he managed to get away a shot. The keeper saved it, but Will Keane rediscovered his scoring boots before he slotted the rebound into an empty net: 2-1!
The final quarter of an hour passed away relatively uneventful, although Anders Lindegaard made a save, which means United have thirteen points and go top of the league. Both Manchester City and Chelsea are trailing by two points.
Lindegaard – Vermijl, Thorpe, Blackett, James – Janko, Carrick (Love 63), A. Pereira, Weir – Keane, Wilson (Grimshaw)
Unused subs: O’Hara, Goss, A. Fletcher