Not one to often report on reserve games, but just felt like it with there being such a young team on display, and nothing on the telly. Don't expect this to become some sort of regular feature, but it's most definitely worth a read if you wanna find out a bit more about our young guns, who were particularly impressive tonight against Manchester United's reserve team.
SAFC lined up as follows:
Bagnall - Laing - Egan - Adams
Knott - Wilson - Luscombe
Lynch - Laidler - Cook
A frantic start to a belter of a game, SAFC went behind when Gabriel Obertan beat the offside trap, before playing in Bebe who fired across Ben Wilson from the edge of the box on 16 minutes.
It wasn't long however before SAFC were level, only 6 minutes in fact. A floated freekick into the box fell to England youth centre back Louis Laing, who's defelcted shot went beyond a hapless Connor Devlin in the Manchester United goal.
From there SAFC went on to be the better team against a team which contained much more first team experience, creating many chances, with Billy Knott & Jordan Laidler impressing, but 1-1 at half-time it was.
Manchester United came out with a bang in the second half as Ravel Morrison and Oliver Norwood both went close, but failed to test Ben Wilson in the SAFC goal.
After 53 minutes however, SAFC took the lead. Hesitancy in the United defence allowed Billy Knott to latch on to the loose ball, and smash the ball into the net when one on one with the United keeper.
Jordan Cook lasted only 60 minutes on his return to action following a short lay off, to be replaced by another Jordan - Jordan Watson.
For those keeping count, thats Jordan's Henderson, Cook, Laidler, Watson and Pickford all on SAFC's books currently, and would in fact make a canny five-a-side team. No doubt there's more coming through too.
For long periods of the second half the game turned scrappy as United chased the game, but SAFC held themesleves firm, worked hard and continued to try and play good football.
Davide Petrucci came close for the hosts as his deflected pile-driver stung the palms of Wilson in the SAFC goal before substitute Paul Pogba forced Wilson into a second fine save only a minute later.
Having dominated much of the game from the 75th minute on it was defence against attack as United turned up the heat and tried to grab a late equaliser, and eventually they did get it. 80 minutes gone, and a goal similar to that you'd have seen at Highbury about 20 years ago. Corner, front post flick on, and Joshua King was on hand to head home at the far post.
There was nearly a sickener in the 85th minute as Ben Wilson, who had impressed all night spilled a long range effort by Ravel Morrison, and Wilson clashed with Petrucci on the rebound. Luckily after a few minutes and a magic sponge both were ok to carry on.
In the mean time, SAFC made another substitute. Jordan Laidler replaced by young Spaniard Alejandro Gorrin to solidify the midfield as the game petered out.
Good games for keeper Ben Wilson, who showed good anticipation, and a coolness when collecting crosses. His style of keeping very similar to Craig Gordon. Billy Knott also impressed, and you can see why Steve Bruce has included him on the bench on the odd occasion this season. He was one of the bigger lads on the night, and looks the part in a central midfield role.
The star on the night however was clearly Louis Laing, who looked a cut above at the heart of SAFC's defence. Cultured in possession, and showed excellent technique and poise. Once he's bulked up a bit he looks like the next one off a very successful SAFC production line.
Gutted the lads couldn't hang on but for such a young team, each and every man gave a fantastic account of themselves, and proved there looks like being a very bright future at the club.