Manchester United Youth 1-2 Carlisle Youth

Last updated : 17 January 2008 By Thetashkentterror
Stephen Hindmarch
Taking to the field at the Marston's Arena in Northwich the Cumbrians must have been dreaming of a major cup upset, and amazingly it came on a evening not to forget in the history of Carlisle United's youth team. It was the usual Blues starting eleven at the kick-off with Jonny Blake sitting in front of the back four and Gary Madine also regularly dropping back into midfield in order to help break up Manchester United's slick passing game.

Antonio Bryan showing his pace down the left flank for the Red Devils in the eighth minute as he cut in on his right foot only to drive a 25-yard effort over the top of Alex Mitchell's goal. To everyone's surprise though the young Blues took the lead just four minutes later after Madine had initially got on the end of a delightful pinpoint pass over the top into the home penalty box from Stephen Hindmarch.

Madine then knocking the ball around Ben Amos only for the Reds goalkeeper to bring him down. Somehow referee Mark Heywood only giving Amos a yellow card despite it being a clear goalscoring opportunity. That soft decision meaning Amos was able to mess about for ages tying up his laces and banging his studs on the post before he actually took his place on the line.

Madine wasn't phased by the playacting of Amos though as he side-footed the spot-kick low into the far bottom corner of the net beyond the despairing reach of the diving Amos. Goalkeepers wasting time on penalties seems to be the latest craze that referees are getting weak on, perhaps a rule of thirty seconds to get on your line or the spot-kick is taken regardless would end it, as well as stopping the usual complaints to the official from the defenders.

Some pacey play going forward just six minutes later almost saw the Red Devils grab a quick equaliser. A clever slide-rule pass down the right-hand channel from Matthew James found full-back Scott Moffatt who cut in sharply from the left past Blues defender Matt Duffy. Moffatt choosing to shoot early as he broke into the box only to see his left-footed effort fly across goal and inches wide of Mitchell's far-post.

Carlisle were defending deep but strongly in numbers and with nearly all of Manchester United's possession being in front of them the Cumbrians were restricting the Red Devils to very few clear-cut chances. One of those coming in the 28th minute when some good skill by Italian striker Federico Macheda forced Mitchell into a parried save from a 22-yard left-footed drive.

Four minutes later and the Red Devils went even closer when the Blues failed to clear a cross in from the left by Bryan. The ball eventually dropping to the right foot of home skipper Corry Evans who saw his toe-poked effort from 15 yards out ping back off the face of Mitchell's right-hand post. That missed opportunity really costing the home side as Carlisle doubled their lead in the 34th minute.

And what a goal it was too after Mitchell's long goal-kick had been headed on by Madine into the path of Hindmarch down the right-hand side. The ball sat up perfectly for Hindmarch 25 yards out and he took full advantage of that to smash an unstoppable right-footed swerving half-volley across the face of Amos and into the far corner of the Manchester United net. The small band of travelling Carlisle fans going wild as the ball thundered into the back of the net.

Nearly all the possession was with the home side though and with 38 minutes gone the pacey Danny Welbeck, who was the best player for the Red Devils by a distance, was pulled back by Dan Wordsworth 22 yards out. Blues skipper Dan Wordsworth being booked for the offence with Norwegian midfielder Magnus Eikrem then wasting the resultant free-kick as he thumped a right-footed free-kick straight into the Carlisle defensive wall.

Just as the Cumbrians were dreaming of taking a two goal lead into the half-time break Welbeck showed his qualities with an excellent individual effort on 41 minutes. Welbeck, in possession just inside the right-angle of the Blues penalty area, turning Duffy and Tom Aldred the wrong way before firing a powerful left-footed drive from 15 yards out low beyond the dive of Mitchell at his near-post.

The last chance of the first period once more came from the boot of the impressive Welbeck sixty seconds into injury time. Mitchell making an excellent one-handed save from Welbeck's 18-yard right-footed drive, Aldred, fortunately for Carlisle, being on hand to hack the loose ball away from danger and preserve the one goal lead for the Blues as the teams headed back down the tunnel.

That slender one goal advantage almost disappeared straight from the opening whistle though, my view of the move slightly distorted as I wandered back from the pie hut with a belly full of hot dog. It was midfielder Danny Drinkwater who broke into the Blues box down the right-hand channel, the best he got was a corner though as Aldred and Mitchell quickly converged on him to smuggle the ball away.

Drinkwater tried his luck from range this time in the 48th minute but his left-footed effort flew well over the top. Three minutes later and it was Carlisle pressing as Matthew Brown's free-kick up from his right-back spot was flicked on into the path of Connor Tinnion down the left by Madine. Tinnion firing in a side-footed shot from 15 yards out which was only parried up in the air by Amos before he grabbed hold of the ball on the bounce.

With 57 minutes on the clock Red Devils boss Paul McGuinness made his first change of the game when he brought on the extremely pacey Daniel Galbraith on the left flank for the underperforming Cameron Stewart. His Carlisle counterpart Eric Kinder responding in kind six minutes later when he replaced Matthew Wood in the Cumbrians engine room with Simon Lakeland.

The frustration was beginning to get the home side now and sixty seconds later James hit in a ridiculously speculative right-footed shot from fully 40 yards out which Mitchell was almost able to throw his cap on. Carlisle went as close as they would to making it 3-1 in the 67th minute when some good work by Hindmarch and Madine saw Tinnion cross from the left into the home box. Cook's six-yard header looking to be in all the way only for it to unluckily deflect away over the top off the head of Evans.
Blues striker Gary Madine

The Red Devils wasted another good opportunity from a free-kick two minutes later after a foul by Wordsworth, Drinkwater taking the set-piece quickly only to hit it straight into a sturdy Carlisle defensive wall. With 20 minutes to go Tinnion was booked for dissent by Mark Heywood, then three minutes later Macheda fired in a thumping right-footed effort from 25 yards out which Mitchell did well to hold at the first attempt.

Apart from crosses in from the left by Galbraith, which the Blues defenders were continually getting to first, the home side were creating little of any note as the Cumbrians packed the midfield. One chance coming in the 75th minute after Duffy had brought down the dangerous Galbraith 28 yards out in the middle. Galbraith stepping up himself to take the free-kick left-footed only to see it well held by Mitchell at his far-post.

My notes for the closing 15 minutes show you just how hard the Carlisle lads worked for the win late on as Manchester United only had one chance of any note to find what would have been a heartbreaking late equaliser from a Cumbrian perspective. Eric Kinder bringing on some fresh legs for the final battle after 84 minutes when a limping Blake was replaced in central midfield by John Seaton.

Manchester United made their second and final change of the game sixty seconds later when Oliver Norwood came on for the disappointing Eikrem. Norwood's first job was to take the corner that had brought about the break in play, Welbeck meeting the ball eight yards out at the near-post only to head it straight into the arms of a grateful Mitchell.

Macheda was then booked for dissent as the clock hit 89 minutes, then one minute into stoppage time Carlisle looked to run down time as they brought on Ged Dalton for Tinnion. And that was about it really, no late panics, no goalmouth scrambles, nothing, just the Blues defending stoutly and looking dangerous on the break throughout themselves.

We had the usual Manchester United extended period of injury time but when the final whistle did come it brought understandably delirious celebrations from the Carlisle youngsters. What a night for everyone concerned, and hopefully it will be another great night at Brunton Park in a couple of weeks time when the Blues face Southend United or Stoke City in the last sixteen, yes the last sixteen, of the FA Youth Cup.

Manchester United line-up :

Ben Amos, Scott Moffatt, Cameron Stewart (Daniel Galbraith 57), Matthew James, Oliver Gill, Corry Evans (c), Magnus Eikrem (Oliver Norwood 85), Danny Drinkwater, Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda, Antonio Bryan.

Unused substitutes :

Gary Woods (GK), Conor McCormack and Joe Dudgeon.

Carlisle United line-up :

Alex Mitchell, Matthew Brown, Matt Duffy, Dan Wordsworth (c), Tom Aldred, Jonny Blake (John Seaton 84), Stephen Hindmarch, Matthew Wood (Simon Lakeland 63), Gary Madine, Andrew Cook, Connor Tinnion (Ged Dalton 90).

Unused substitutes :

John Jamieson (GK) and Michael Dowson.

Referee - Mark Heywood (Northwich).

Attendance - 330.

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