Young Blues run Manchester United close in five-goal thriller
INJURY time goals from Nick Ingram and Sean McKirdy set up a grandstand finish as Ipswich Town’s Under-15s offered great hope for the future during tonight’s 3-2 defeat by Premier League giants Manchester United.
The annual academy showcase match at Portman Road saw Town defeated but far from disgraced against their illustrious opponents.
Town, like United, had some real stand-out performers and never dipped from trying to play football the right way.
A blistering start from the Blues saw sharp frontman Cemal Ramadan, Edward Ellis and skipper Billy Curson all denied by United keeper Dean Henderson before the visitors took the lead against the run of play.
Scott McTominay had his heels clipped by Kundai Benyu in the penalty area and while Town keeper Tim Brown made a great save from Nathan Palmer’s spot-kick, Demetre Mitchell was on hand to score the rebound.
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To their credit, the Town youngsters refused to let their heads go down and Ramadan deflected Matthew Clarke’s shot just wide before Ellis’ goalbound drive from 20 yards was smartly turned round the post by the diving Henderson.
But it was United who extended their lead through a smart turn and low finish from McTominay eight minutes before the break.
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The second half was punctuated by 13 subs as every single youth player from both sides got a taste of playing at Portman Road.
The third goal arrived five minutes after the interval when man of the match Mitchell’s free kick was deflected into the far corner.
The Premier League side controlled possession for much of the remainder of the match but Town finally got the goals their performance deserved in injury time.
Local lad Ingram scored from close range after an excellent low cross from Harry Daly before a flowing move from the hosts ended with McKirdy tapping home after Ronaldo Jones’ shot was well saved.
Teams: Ipswich – Tim Brown, Joshua Emmanuel, Matthew Rose, George Fowler, Billy Curson, Kundai Benyu, Edward Ellis, Henry Okosi, Nick Ingram, Cemal Ramadan, Matthew Clarke.
Subs: James Baughurst, Tobie Stollery, Sean McKirdy, Harry Daly, Sonny Howard, Ronaldo Jones, Chris Smith, Isaac Maynard.
Manchester United – Dean Henderson, Bradley Carroll, Samuel Hart, Tosin Kehinde, Joseph Moulden, Cameron Borthwick, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Nathan Palmer, Benjamin Greenop, Demetre Mitchell.
Subs: Devonte Redmond, Charlie Scott, Travis Johnson, Faustin Makela, Samuel Smith.