A goal from Fabio Lopes was not enough as United U23s lost 2-1 to an experienced Cheltenham Town side this afternoon.
United found their rhythm early on and started the game the brighter side. Kyran Lofthouse was lively on the wing early on and earned United their first opportunity on goal inside the opening five minutes after winning a freekick. A trialist stepped up, electing to shoot from 25 yards but his effort went way over.
Cheltenham fielded an experienced side and almost worked their first opportunity on ten minutes as a long ball looked for their forward. His touch was good but Stevens was out quickly to gather at the feet of the number nine.
United saw plenty of the ball andLopes looked sharp going forward, having the first shot on target for the U’s as he picked the ball up on the edge of the area but his strike from 20 yards was comfortably saved by the Cheltenham goalkeeper.
Centre half pairing Nico Jones and Leon Chambers-Parillon brought the ball out from the back as United saw plenty of the ball and their patience was rewarded on 25 minutes when Lopes grabbed the opener. He was fed into the area by Lofthouse, used his body well to shift the ball onto his right and finished calmly beyond the Cheltenham goalkeeper.
United went into the break ahead but Cheltenham pulled level shortly after half time. A forward worked the ball into the area and finished low into the bottom right corner.
United came again though, with Owen James, who had an excellent game on the left wing, bursting forward from the left wing into the area. With men in the area he elected to shoot and his shot narrowly went over the crossbar.
The youngsters matched a Cheltenham side which contained several senior players for the majority of the game, with Jones having a composed game at centre half, linking the ball between defence and midfield well.
However, the youngsters fell behind on 72 minutes after a Cheltenham winger drifted in from wide left and finished into the right corner to give the hosts the lead.
United pushed for an equaliser in the final ten minutes but couldn’t fashion any clear cut chances as Cheltenham’s added experience helped them see out the game. United U23s are next in action against AFC Wimbledon away on the 15th October.
UNITED 23s: Stevens, Sade (Trialist), Chambers-Parillon, Jones, Berkoe, McCreadie, Lopes, Heap, Lofthouse, Trialist, James
Unused Subs: Harris, Elechi, Sole, Edwards
Report by Liam Potter