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The Academy: Liverpool 2-1 United

Four defeats on the spin, and beaten by two of our closest rivals along the way might suggest it’s time for the Academy to panic, but hold on, not so fast. There were many positives on Friday and the 2-1 defeat away to Liverpool in no way tells the whole story of this competitive, exciting Academy match that could’ve gone either way.

Put bluntly the game was decided by an error from United’s young Australian keeper Liam Jacob but there’s so much more to it than that.

Liverpool got off to a flyer taking the lead in just the third minute thanks to an Adam Morgan header. Morgan, Liverpools highly impressive top goalscorer from last season, was obviously Liverpool’s main danger today but was inexcusably unmarked at the front post after United failed to regroup and prevent a cross coming in after clearing a corner.

United were under pressure for most of the first half and struggled to make inroads into the final third. They kept the ball well and had some terrific spells of possession but couldn’t quite convert that into chances.

Sam Byrne and Declan Dalley were away on International duty. Replacing Dalley was a straightforward decision for manager McGuiness with captain Luke McCullough fit enough to slot back into his usual role at centre back after recovering from his nasty eye injury. Tyler played alongside Luke and Charni Ekangamene maintained his role from last week at leftback.

On 37 minutes a defensive calamity ensued and United were two-down.

Blackett and Ekangamene were found square and out of position which gifted Morgan the gap to put Peterson in space down their right, he crossed an aimless air ball into the box and Jacob came out to clear it but he flapped at it and, possibly hindered by McCullough and Hendrie, completely missed the ball allowing Matty Regan an easy header from six yards.

In the second half there were few chances for either side and the game swung from side-to-side with both teams enjoying spells of pressure. Looking at the facts of the game it would be fair to suggest Liverpool had the better of it. United looked more technically well educated than their counterparts but lacked that cutting edge in the final third to create opportunities. Jacob was forced into three late saves but apart from that the half was generally contested in midfield.

We saw last week how Jack Barmby came alive in the second half at Wolves, he did exactly the same again at Liverpool.

In the absence of Sam Byrne, McGuiness decided he’d stick with Ben Pearson in a central midfield role alongside Joe Rothwell and bring in the fit again Gyliano van Velzen. This pushed Barmby into the striker role. In the first half United created very few opportunities to get forward but in the second Barmby’s runs started to create gaps in the Liverpool defence, it’s these kind of runs this group and its setup have been screaming for. Today Januzaj and van Velzen were looking to play the ball in behind, when Tom Lawrence returns it’s exactly those runs he looks for and always tries to pick out.

Barmby was a constant threat throughout the second half and frustrated the Liverpool defenders so much that every other word was ‘f**kin hell’. They were two goals to the good and at sixes-n-sevens but United just couldn’t exploit the right areas to create clear cut chances.

Barmby capitalised on a mistake on the hour and drove at pace with the ball at Liverpool’s Joseph Rafferty who backed off frightened of his pace. He nudged the ball left to create enough space to crack an absolute screamer into the top left hand corner from about 20yds….the keeper had no chance and Jack joined Lawrence at the top of the scoring charts with five for the season.

Superb! United were back in it as a contest……great to see Jack’s reaction to such a sweet strike too. No one would’ve blamed him for admiring the goal and celebrating but instead he quickly retrieved the ball and gave out a rallying-call to his team mates who responded by playing the remaining 30 minutes with a passion and a determination that should’ve seen them take at least a point back down the East Lancs.

United did muster one fabulous opportunity to grab a point when substitute Kenji Gorre found himself through on goal but failed to sort his feet out and eventually lost the ball despite his best efforts.

It wasn’t to be and the Academy suffered its fourth defeat in a row and now host Crewe Alex at Carrington on Wednesday in a 1:30pm kick-off before a two week break.

Team: Jacob / Ekangamene, Blackett, McCullough, Hendrie / Daehli, Rothwell, Pearson, van Velzen,  Januzaj / Barmby

Subs: Coll, Gorre, Love, Rudge, McNair


Communication – a lack of communication in the match versus Middlesboro a month ago featured heavily on the list of improvements to be made. Four weeks later and Luke McCullough, Tyler Blackett, Luke Hendrie, Jack Barmby and Liam Jacob can all be singled out for praise for how and what they were communicating.

Defending Counter Attacks – Versus Blackburn Rovers we were undone time after time on the counter after giving the ball away too cheaply…..yes we need to eliminate losing the ball too easily, but on Friday the boys displayed the desire to get back and make those all important recovery runs to rectify the mistake to either regain possession or merely prevent the opposition punishing them. Tyler Blackett again deserves praise here and so too Luke McCullough, both players assumed responsibility and recovered with purpose and dogged determination throughout, a vast improvement and proof that hard work really does pay off. There were no goals from counters this week and we won the second half by keeping a clean sheet which will give the defence a real confidence boost.

Donald Love – I think Donald looked promising in the short spell he had at rightback after replacing Luke Hendrie. Hopefully Hendrie will be given a break and Donald can get a game or two under his belt along with Paddy McNair and Kenji Gorre who’ve all yet to get their chance.

Charni Ekangamene – Looked comfortable at leftback despite a poor start.

This team’s coming together, don’t let anyone convince you of anything less, this team has talent and will come good before the season ends. League tables mean nothing, yes a good FA Youth Cup run starting in December would be great and give them a well deserved boost, but it’s not essential.

While the Academy continues to produce talents like Morrison, Lawrence, McCullough, Rothwell and Rashford (all ‘local’ talents) through the age groups, it’s obviously in good hands. And who are we to suggest a few defeats is a fair reflection on the standard of footballer we have?

Friday offers us another chance to see what – if any – improvements can be made, as usual you can follow regular match updates live from Carrington on Twitter by following me @Rimmerstweets.





  1. Moscow is my heaven

    October 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Our academy is a bit shit ain’t it? 😳 😆

    • Dessie

      October 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      I hope your joking. Don’t be so ignorant.

      We have the best academy in the country. Results matter little at this stage, as we are playing teams twice our size with pace and power. We are more concerned about building skilled footballers. Technique will prevail.

      • NicoQB

        October 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm


    • tonymontanna4united

      October 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      As dessie says, at this point results arent the be all an end all. Its about letting these young lads grow as players, giving them time to improve their games, before hopefully they step up in a few years and become outstanding members of the squad.
      At the end of the day thats what matters to me anyway. Having a few potential gems who could one day make the step up to the first team would mean more than winning a trophy (although in an ideal world we’d probably love to see both).

  2. Dessie

    October 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for the excellent report.

    Agree that it was a better game for us than the outcome suggests. Probably our best performance of the season so far.

    Charni did well at left back, but Pearson and Barmby were excellent.

    It is also exciting to see Rothwell, Dhaeli and Januzaj linking up. Three quality technical players who will only get better as the season goes on.

    Thanks again and keep the excellent reports coming.

    • Ian

      October 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      No problem, thanks a lot for the feedback.

      How do you fancy this midfield when all fit? >>>

      Weir, Rothwell, Daehli, Lawrence, Januzaj

      Outstanding technical ability. OK, James Weir maybe not so much but he’s getting better and could add a bit of grit and pick up the pieces around the other 4 who’ll pass ANY team to death once they gel properly.

      Not sure we’ll ever get to see that combination on a regular basis with the need to play Sam Byrne and GvV, but Jack Barmby showed he could easily play a central forward (maybe not out-and-out striker) role so it’s a possibility now and again.

  3. Stephen

    October 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Good write up Ian, it is good that we show interest in the future of our club, well done mate.
    Lets forget about Saturday and all move on eh!? Tonight is a must win and I fully expect us to do so. Lets see fast flowing attacking football and a few goals. This will give us big confidence for the Bitter Blues on Sunday.

    • ash is the man

      October 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      ARE YOU NOT AFRAID STEPHAN THAT FERGIE might field a similar bullshit team and tactics on sunday? If hes afraid of liverpool he must be in fear for his life of city

      • Stephen

        October 18, 2011 at 1:51 pm

        Mate, we are firstly at home and secondly he needs a win. He wanted to stop the rot against Liverpool, for me we will see all the big hitters back, yes for me he made an error against the Dippers, he won’t do it again.

        • ash is the man

          October 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

          fair point stephan about the game being at home and also fergie wanting to stop the rot. However im not too convinced and here is why-
          I think fergie has become far too tactical and its not to anyones benefit but our opponents. I for one dont believe in over complications in football because it should be pretty simple-ATTACK AND DEFEND AND PLAY AS A TEAM. SO for nearly every game and especially big games against liverpool we should just field our strongest team and GET ON WITH IT.
          I for one dont believe in fielding below par players like park and a 37 year old giggs over rooney and nani just for the sake of playing tight. ITS incredibly inferior of us. I am being very serious when I say that I am just not sure what is going on with fergie- IN my opinion he MAY have cost us two european cups with poor teams and PATHETIC TACTICS against barcelona.

        • Stephen

          October 18, 2011 at 5:38 pm

          We don’t know that mate, Barca are a superb side mate and have beaten most sides in their wake. I think rather than focussing on the negative bro, look what we have won! No other manager in the past 10 years have won what he has, for me we should be grateful and fear the day he leaves. Football goes in cycles mate, Fergie is the only manager over the past 20 years who has consistently won pots, that is far form pathetic.
          Maybe we have been spoilt………

        • tonymontanna4united

          October 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

          Agree ash, it makes even more sense for us to be more attack minded as well seen as though we look very shaky at the back nearly ever game. Outscore the opponents i say, were probably going to conceed a goal or 2 anything, atleast if we go for it, we look like were capable of scoring 3 or 4.
          Anyway i do agree with stephen somewhat with the city game, we wont approach it as negatively as we did against the scousers.
          All our main lads will be fit and fresh (im hoping most of them are rested tonight) and being at home, and what with the way city seemed terrified every time they play us and line up with 10-0-0 formation, i think you’ll see us getting forward quite a bit.
          I bloody hope so anyway, as i really hate sitting there for 90 minutes watching the type of non league football we played on saturday.
          The prospect of sitting top of the tree again though should see us through.

    • Ian

      October 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Thanks mate and yes it’s good to be interested especially when they serve up great football that comes without all the paraphernalia that is players wages, spit roasting stories, assault charges, drink driving offences and various other back page material that some modern 1st team players (lucky bastrads!) seems incapable of avoiding nowadays. You just get to watch football without all that knowledge, so when (for example) Kenji doesn’t hit the back of the net or Liam Jacob flaps at a cross and costs us the game, you’re not there fuming about “how much does he get paid?….ffs me gran’s better than him!!” kind of nonsense. 😀 Instead players are given a chance to redeem it and judged on their football. I just prefer it nowadays, football as it should be, the average fan inside OT has changed and driven me out tbh…..I’m an ex ‘United Road’ man from the mid-80s onwards so you get my meaning.

      I get the feeling you’re similar and also just go occasionally now and have done for a few years so I guess you’ve seen a few changes in supporter-type of your own.

      Saturday obviously split opinion but thankfully the majority of us on here can have that disagreement and get our point across strongly but in a friendly manner that doesn’t cross the line……others unfortunately proved they can’t and behind the scenes there’s some seriously upset people trying to reconcile and threatening to quit the site… can probably guess who’s involved. Hopefully it’ll get sorted soon.

      Anyway, thanks for the compliment and look forward to getting back on track in the European Cup, sorry, I forgot….the champions league (that you don’t even have to be champions to get in to!) tonight.

      • Stephen

        October 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm

        😆 😆 Quality, post mate. Yes I have seen so many changes with the fan base at OT it is unreal. Away, the support is still the same, United away has always been special and a great feckin laugh.
        I was a season ticket holder for about 11 seasons, but gave it up due to Glazer regime, felt like a hypocrite moaning about them then putting money in their pocket.
        As I say mate it is great that you keep everyone posted about the Academy, well done mate keep up the good work! 😀
        Guys, look we all have our opinions lets just accept that some are different to your own, we all support the same team lets just move on and get behind the lads.

        • tonymontanna4united

          October 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm

          Stephen, fair play to you mate for standing by your decision. I know myself, its a massive bloody sacrifice, but i suppose its maybe easier for me, what with being miles away down here in london. Your still up in manc land unless im mistaken, so the lure of the place must make it that bit harder.
          I know from the community shield game i went to at wembley a few weeks ago, i miss it like crazy, but then i knew i would.
          Would love to get to an away game again though at some point, have some great memories travelling to elland road, anfield, the emirates etc years ago. Great times.

      • tonymontanna4united

        October 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm

        Ian, i always imagined you were a regular at OT, obviously not. Must be a bit depressing though for older fans such as yourself, no offence 😉 who have been regulars from 20 odd years ago.
        I know from my own personal experiences, OT lost alot of its magic as i got older. The atmosphere became pathetic, the stewards became a heavy mob, and the place felt like a police state. I stopped going in the end, partially because of this (mainly though because i am opposed to the glazers ownership) and miss it like hell, but then its a sacrifice im willing to make.
        I most certainly envy you and people like my father who remember back in the days of old terraces back in the 70s, when the place was bouncing. Would have given anything to sample that kind of atmosphere, would have been bloody awesome.
        Ive been a few times though to see the likes of oldham, bury, and im eager to get to atleast one FC United game at some point, dunno if you’ve attended any, but its apparently fantastic.

        • Ian

          October 19, 2011 at 1:07 am

          Hhhmm where do I start?!

          It’s not depressing I can still get to plenty of homes (not been away for 3yrs now, except in Academy but obviously that’s totally different) and my ticket is generally FOC so I’m not doing too bad. But, sorry to say this to all the people who’d love the chance to go to just one game – I choose not to. Glazers, ticket prices, players wages, no atmosphere, too many women and children etc makes it a place I don’t recognise or enjoy so I accept thatI’m not the type of ‘customer’ Man Utd The Brand want through the turnstile so fair play I’ll go enjoy something else. I had my run, eternally grateful to my dad for taking me as a very small boy and he still goes, ST holder in East Stand, or Warwick Road as we still call it.

          I remember the day I knew the fun had gone for me. Not sure the year the game etc but I remember walking from the Railway Club to the ground with my dad and spotted pink scalves for the first time on sale in the stalls on Warwick Bridge and elsewhere…..I shit you not, from that moment on, I knew it was going in a totally different direction than I was happy to accept, and gradually from that day my attendance waned until now it’s virtually stopped.

          In 2 spells I didn’t miss a game domestically for 7yrs (a 5yr and a 2yr stint) Home or away. I didn’t miss a home game for over 10 yrs at one point. At a guess I reckon I’ve watched em at OT about 400 times and been to 50 other grounds round UK and Europe.

          I remember collecting stamps to get tickets, I remember the brick walled shithouses at the back of the Stretford End and Michael Knighton’s juggling. I was 20yds from the United Arsenal brawl in the corner where the tunnel is now.

          I could talk about it all night! Getting a late equaliser v Southampton in a cup game but we’d just left before the whistle, we soon legged it back up the wooden steps when we heard the roar… beat on pens that night tho I think.

          I’m talking like it’s ancient history but I’m 37 so the change that’s taken place during my time is unbelievable and a rapid one.

          My money is my money and I’m not prepared to put it in a pot that gets shared out amongst people who spend what I would spend on a car to fix a bald patch or someone who’s prepared to hold my club to ransom to get a new contract or a to spend it etching CR7 into the bottom of his pool when the players I started watching used to live happily behind the Gorse Pub because they were just proud and honoured to play for United.

          I’m rambling now anyway so I’m getting off.


        • tonymontanna4united

          October 19, 2011 at 2:04 am

          I can understand alot of that mate, times have changed, and not for the better as far as im concerned (i notice in the difference in the match day experience now to when i first started attended matches, back when i still lived up in manchester, so were probably talking late 90s. Lot later than you so i imagine the changes you’ve seen must be scary at times).
          An interesting read though mate, always interested to hear stories, people’s experiences from days gone by, so i appreciate it, cheers.

        • Ian

          October 19, 2011 at 3:02 am

          Bloody hell Tony, what keeps you up? Insomnia or work?

          Work for me, thought I was the only one 🙁

        • Ian

          October 19, 2011 at 4:01 am

          Looks like I am, after all!

        • tonymontanna4united

          October 19, 2011 at 4:11 am

          Haha, no unfortunately im another member of the insomniacs club. Weve got quite a following on here.

        • Ian

          October 19, 2011 at 5:18 am

          Someone told me a cure for Insomnia once, reckons it works everytime.

        • tonymontanna4united

          October 19, 2011 at 7:08 pm

          Care to share it mate?

  4. Robbie

    October 18, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Were obviously missing the likes of tunnicliffe will keane pogba and morrison with regard to winning games as those four had a big winning mentality but will give the new lads chance to grow.

  5. tonymontanna4united

    October 18, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Official team for tonight:

    Fabio Smalling Vida Evra
    Valencia Carrick Ando Nani
    Rooney Hernandez

    Not sure why evra starts game in game out, surely young fryers or even evans could fill in there rather than rely evra all the time?

  6. BabyFace

    October 18, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Don’t know why Evra gets so much shit; he really is an awesome defender…

  7. Moscow is my heaven

    October 18, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Scintillating football 🙄

    • AndyCR7

      October 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      And Evra has been our best attacker 😛

  8. gator

    October 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Fear the full head of hair… 😈

  9. gator

    October 18, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    This ref is incompetent

  10. gator

    October 18, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    and now the ref allows guys on yellows to man handle our boys 🙄

  11. gator

    October 18, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    nani back on the right and nasty as ever

  12. gator

    October 18, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Nano is wasted on left side

  13. [OPTI]Madschester United

    October 18, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Snoozefest was just registered as a trademark by Man United. Now it’s Snoozefest®!

  14. tonymontanna4united

    October 18, 2011 at 10:29 pm


    Yet another in a long line of absolutely pathetic away displays in europe. What a great showing for the thousands of lads who made the trip and spent their hard earned cash for this. Just pathetic.
    No hunger, no desire, no flair, no nothing. And yet this is against some 2 bit team from romania, a team whose english equivalent is probably that of a league 1 team. We come away with points, and were supposed to be happy with that, or else were negative, ungrateful so and so’s who should go and support liverpool.
    Im sorry, but displays like that, just should not happen at manchester united against such dross. Not this frequently anyway, whereby it seems every away game and against every half decent team we get this, same old shite.
    Is it fergie not firing up the troops? Is it tactics, formations? Is it a lack of creativity, imagination, balls?
    I dont know, i could be here all day going on about the rights and wrongs of this team, to which im sure id be labelled by most as an ingrate, spoilt little brat most likely.
    But i do know, showings like this are becoming far too frequent, season in season out, and i for one hate seeing this. Were becoming far too happy to settle for mediocre performances now.
    How i expect someone to respond to this and come out with the same “we do this in these type of games every season” excuse.
    Well yes, maybe thats true, but maybe thats why some of us are so god damn sick of it, and why we throw away such stupid points in these type of games most seasons. Why alot are so bored to tears, and why some of, perhaps unfairly at times, are so quick to criticise fergie, when he seems so happy and content with such results.
    The 3 points is the be all and end all to some people, to hell with the performance. Seems thats now this clubs tagline.

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