United's under-21 side win friendly gameA youthful United development side won 3-0 at North Leigh this evening thanks to an early goal from Luke Hastings, and second-half strikes from Josh Shama and Freddie Grant.
With United's under-18s' game at Plymouth called off at the weekend, a number of the youth team were involved, with the defence featuring central defenders Robbie Cundy and Alfie Grant, playing alongside his left-back brother Freddie, with 22-year-old Jon Meades as the senior professional at right back in front of goalkeeper Max Crocombe. Josh Ashby and Josh Ruffels were the midfield duo in front of the defence, with Callum O'Dowda on the right of the attacking midfield three, Muctaru Conte on the left and Shama in the hole behind Hastings.
Despite the torrid conditions, United started brightly and in the eighth minute found themselves in the lead. Conte and O'Dowda exchanged passes before the former's deep cross went beyond the crowd in the penalty area and found Hastings unmarked at the far post, the first-year scholar burying his shot into the far corner.
The rest of the first period was a high-tempo affair, with both teams quick into the tackle and moving the ball around at speed. The home keeper had to be alert to keep out an Ashby piledriver but otherwise defences were on top despite the slippery surface.
The second half was a slightly more sedate affair but it was United who made most of the running and the North Leigh goalie was called on to make a fine save from Shama in the 68th minute. Less than a minute later the United player latched on to a poor clearance to shoot home from ten yards. With the home team visibly tiring United were in the ascendency and with ten minutes remaining the ball fell kindly for Freddie Grant, who gleefully slammed the ball into the roof of the net to seal the result.
Coach Micky Lewis said "It was a hard-fought competitive game played in good spirit. Both teams passed the ball well and it was a good work out for us."
United: Crocombe, Meades, Cundy, A Grant, F Grant, Ashby, Ruffels, O'Dowda, Shama, Conte (Hayden 81), Hastings