Venue: Turf Moor (Monday 16th December 2013,7.00pm)
Just a quick blog this one, as I am saving the majority of the history and ground details for when I revisit to watch the First Team, so you will be let off with these for now!
The beginning of my trip to get to Burnley was horrendous! Leaving immediately from work, I made it into Manchester City Centre in time for the X43 service to Burnley. However, as I disembarked the 263, I saw it pulling away in the distance. My trip was up in smoke, and I decided to make my way to the bus stop for the way home, when I saw another X43 destined for Nelson. Good stuff! Got to the bus stop, only for the number not to feature, and the bus to drive past. Now, when I get p’d off I get very stubborn, & thought to myself ‘I’m gonna catch you’. So, I chased the horrible ‘Witch Way’ down from Portland Street to Strangeways and beat it! Boom! So, after boarding the thing as a sweaty mess (apologies to my fellow passengers, I was on my way for the hours journey into Lancashire.
After an uneventful (bar for some twitter banter) trip, I disembarked at Burnley’s smart bus station, and thought it would be either visible easily, or signposted. It was neither, and with little in terms of fans walking, it was a little lucky that I figured out the way to go, and saw the ‘Bob Lord Stand’ protruding out into view from under a bridge. So, after a few photo opportunities and queuing outside the turnstiles, due to the high volume of fans taking the club somewhat by surprise, I paid my dues at the turnstiles (£3) and entered Turf Moor for the very first time. Ground 95!
Rushing through, and up a flight of steps, I turned expecting a decent crowd, interspersed with a number of empty seats. I was wrong. It was packed!! The Bob Lord Stand, which was the only stand in use tonight, was close to a sell out, which was a good sight for a Youth Team game, and a good experience I’m sure for the up & coming players on the pitch. Turf Moor needs little description, as it will be familiar to most from its time in the Premiership. 4-all seater stands, two with modern blue & claret seats, two with old wooden flip-up seats, including the stand in use tonight, which was a neat experience.
As I took my seat, at the end of a row, I quickly changed to some a little more deserted, which is more to my liking, but they weren’t to remain that way as the crowd continued to stream in at a healthy rate. I eventually settled to set eyes on the early skirmishes, of which Burnley dominated, and looked the more likely to grab the opener. A well-rehearsed corner allowed ex-United man Luke Daly to unleash a strike from 18-yards, only to be denied by United’s Josh Harrop on the goal-line. A minute later saw Joel Pereira in the Red Devils’ goal pull off a good save to deny Jamie Frost.
The pace of Clarets’ wingers Bradley Jackson (ex-Wilmslow Town) & Christian Hill, another of the ex-Reds, were a constant threat to United, however the Reds’ who were all in white (this could become misleading!), were keeping them at bay just about, but they were still being done down the right, and the best chance of the half came that way when Jackson fed Ulsterman Cameron Dummingan, who in turn played in the wonderfully named Khius Metz, who fired, not so wonderfully, clean over. This proved to be the last action of the half of note, and Burnley went in much the happier of the two, and United happy to go in still level, in front of the almost 1,500 in attendance.
At half-time, I decided a pie was in order, but just as I got to the counter, someone got the last one. Grrrr. A hot-dog was the back-up option, and a damn good one it was too! A good size one for the price £1.50, and it was devoured as quickly as it was served.
Second half, I retook my seat, and it began in the same vain as the first period, with Burnley on the front foot, Australian Kevin Ly played a good one-two with Metz and forced young Portuguese Pereira into another good stop, and from the resulting clearance, midfielder Alex Whitmore attempted to catch out the Reds stopper from all of 40-yards, but Pereira was alert and grabbed the ball before it posed too much of a threat. Jamie Frost then fired narrowly wide when well placed 12-yards out but, against the run of play, United’s Saidy Janko, who is tipped as a star of the future, received the ball and played a simple ball into Belgian Andreas Pereira, who made space for himself, and from the angle of the right hand side of the area, fired an unstoppable shot into the far top right-hand corner, past the despairing, full stretch dive of Burnley’s Northern Irish custodian Conor Mitchell to give the 10-time winners the advantage.
It was a wonderful strike, which earned the youngster pantomime boos from the crowd in attendance, and it was equalled if not better just fifteen minutes later, when James Wilson picked the ball up just past half-way and strode on…and on….and on as he left defender after defender in his wake, he then turned on the after-burners, raced clear, rounded the advancing Mitchell, and fired home confidently from a tight angle. What a goal it was!
Burnley had a penalty appeal turned down soon after, as they through everything at United to find a way back into the tie, and brought on another ex-United & City striker Ntumba Massanka, who had his own fan club situated behind the home dugout! They grew even more excited when the pacey forward advanced on goal, but fired wide. Massanka, is clearly popular with the other Burnley supporters too, as he was greeted with cheers every time he got the ball. Pereira then pulled off two wonder saves firstly to deny the impressive Frost as he fired in from close-range after being put through by Massanka, before denying Jackson somehow, when it looked odds-on he’d find the net, charging down the winger’s effort from point-blank range to preserve a well earned clean sheet.
So, the game ended, with United gaining revenge for last year’s defeat to the Clarets at Old Trafford and progressing to the 4th Round where they will visit Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Thursday 16th January at 7pm, and Massanka receiving the acclaim of his rather significant personal fan base. I made my way back along the street leading to the bus station, accompanied by a group of young Burnley fans filling the air with songs, taking their opportunity to take on the mantle usually taken on by their seniors at first team games, clearly!
My Burnley u18 M.o.M.- Jamie Frost
My Manchester United u18 M.o.M.- Joel Pereira
Game: 7- Decent entertainment throughout.
Ground 8- Character retained, you can feel the history resonating in it.
Fans: 9- Mostly on he basis that so many came out to support their future. Kudos!
Programme: N/A- There was a teamsheet issued, but I failed to get one of them either!
Food: 9- The hot-dog was superb, in taste & size and for the dosh it wasn’t too bad nosh!
Value For Money: 10- £8.50 return on the bus, £3 entrance, and a further £1.50 for food. Can’t moan at that!
Referee: 9- Thought he was good, although it was a good-natured tie in fairness to both teams.
BURNLEY U18:- 1.Conor Mitchell, 2.Cameron Dummigan, 3.Waqas Azam, 4.Luke Daly, 5.Callum Richardson, 6.Alex Whitmore, 7.Bradley Jackson, 8.Kevin Ly, 9.Khius Metz, 10.Jamie Frost, 11.Christian Hill SUBS; 12.Callum Jakovlevs(GK), 14.Ntumba Massanka(p) 15.Charlie Holt, 16.Nathan Lowe, 17.Evan Galvin
MANCHESTER UNITED U18:- 1.Joel Pereira, 2.Saidy Janko, 3.Ben Barber, 4.Callum Evans, 5.Ryan McConnell, 6.Sean Goss, 7.Josh Harrop, 8.Matthew Willock, 9.James Wilson(c)(1), 10.Andreas Pereira(1), 11.Devonte Redmond SUBS: 12.Dean Henderson(GK), 14.Demetri Mitchell, 15.Ashley Fletcher(p), 16.Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, 17.Marcus Rashford
Referee: Mr. T. Neild