United youngsters fell to a 1-0 defeat away at Newport County AFC this morning in the Youth Alliance League.
The young U’s held possession well in the opening exchanges but found it tricky to make chances for themselves but were patient as they pressed their opponents and had their first sight of goal on 15 when Fabio Sole floated in a corner which found its way to Nico Jones, but the defender couldn’t get the power he needed and the goalkeeper gathered.
United continued to come forward and forced a total of 12 corners in the first half but couldn’t find a way through a County side that set out to make it difficult for United throughout the game.
Connor Ferguson worked the ball into the area on 16 and looked to pick out Tyler Goodrham who had made a good run from wide right but the winger saw his effort deflected behind for another United corner. It was one-way traffic for United against their opponents, who were comfortable to sit back and frustrate the U’s, as when Jack Gardner flashed a cross across the face of goal but none of United’s front line couldn’t get on the end of it.
United’s top scorer Callum Crook had the best opportunity to take the lead from the spot when Goodrham was brought down in the area for a penalty. Crook stepped up but his penalty was saved by the goalkeeper who also came out well to deny the forward at the second attempt.
Having been untroubled for the first 40 minutes of the opening 45, Max Evans was involved for the first time making a superb save to deny a Newport forward. A freekick was swung in and was glanced towards goal forcing Evans to tip the ball over the bar at full stretch.
From the following corner, the hosts took an unlikely lead on the stroke of half time as United didn’t clear their lines allowing Newport to prod home the game’s first goal.
With work to do at the break, on came Sam Johnson for Ferguson shortly into the second half as United tried to change their fortunes but the youngsters still struggled to make the opportunities they were after in the second half.
Fabio Sole sent in another set piece and found Milton at the back post but the defender couldn’t direct his header on target as the U’s pushed for an equaliser.
An injury to Gardner saw the introduction of Keanu Barnett-Grant in defence as United chased the game and Crook had sight of goal ten minutes from time but his left footed shot from the edge of the area flashed across the face of goal and went behind.
United were still on the front foot for the remainder of the game but just couldn't fashion the chances against a resolute Newport side who made it a difficult afternoon for the U's. The youngsters are next in Youth Alliance League action away at Portsmouth next weekend.
UNITED: Evans, Gardner (Barnett-Grant), Elechi, Sole, Milton, Jones, Goodrham, Lopes, Crook, Chambers-Parillon, Ferguson (Johnson)
Unused subs: Brearey, Owens
Report by Liam Potter