United secure place in final four

Jul 26, 2023 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

PressEye-Northern Ireland- 26th July 2023 Picture by Brian Little/PressEye SuperCupNi 2023 – Boys Premier Co Fermanagh Taghg Britton and Manchester United Shea Lacey during Wednesday’s Boys Premier Group D match at Coleraine Showgrounds during the SUPERCUPNI. Picture by Brian Little/PressEye

Report by Demos Erwin

Twitter handle- @demoserwin

Manchester United 2

County Fermanagh 0

Manchester United and Fermanagh met at a sodden Coleraine Showground, with the English side aware that a draw would seal their place in the semi-finals.

In the games early stages it would be United who had the majority of possession with a couple of half chances from wideman Shea Lacey being Fermanagh’s only concern.

Despite United’s large spells of possession, players taking loose touches was a common theme in the early stages. Jayce St Ledger was the latest player guilty of mis controlling the ball with his loose touch meaning he had to commit a foul which would result in a Fermanagh free kick 35 yards from goal.

Creative midfielder Tadhg Britton’s in-swinging delivery proved to be dangerous as the ball would take a couple of deflections before travelling narrowly wide of Cameron Byne-Hughes’s post, denying County Fermanagh the game’s opening goal.

United’s biggest threat in the first half period was undoubtedly tricky winger Lacey. After going on yet another mazy dribble the wideman put an inviting cross into the box. Centre half Albert Mills was on the end of Lacey’s in-swinging delivery however the Englishman failed to meet the ball with a proper connection, meaning the Red Devils were denied the lead in the 21st minute.

Lacey was once again proving to be the thorn in the Fermanagh defence with the tricky winger going on another one of his dazzling dribble runs just a minute later. After gliding past 3 players the forward won his side a freekick right on the edge of the Fermanagh penalty area which Lacey himself would take. United’s number 7 stepped up before firing his powerful effort just a yard wide of Alex McClelland’s post.

The Red Devils’ grip hold of the game was becoming evidently stronger with them having the games best chance in the 29th minute. After a quick progression through the thirds, starting with Mills who broke the midfield line with a firm pass into the unmarked Bendito Mantato this space allowed the versatile midfielder to turn and break the defensive line as he set Siem Abraha through on goal.

The forward headed towards goal before producing a close-range effort that was superbly stopped by McClelland with a corner being the outcome. However, the deadlock would be broken from the resulting corner after Jim Thwaites delivery wasn’t dealt with properly by the Northern Irish side. Fermanagh’s misjudgement allowed Majid Balogun to nip in infront of his man to bundle the ball home from close range giving the Red Devils a deserved lead in the 30th minute.

As the second half began Lacey remained a threat with his long-range effort forcing McClelland into an early second half save. Despite United’s continued control in the second half period there weren’t many chances that threatened the Fermanagh goal. A speculative overhead kick in the 51st minute from the games only goal scorer Balogun was the closest the Red Devils came to scoring in the early second half stages. As the match neared a conclusion United would double their lead in the 65th minute. A long pass forward tempted Fermanagh’s substitute goalkeeper Ross Thompson to leave his area in an attempt to clear his lines. Unfortunately for the Fermanagh ‘keeper, Balogun would get to the ball first before squaring the ball to the unmarked Mantato who couldn’t miss from close range, providing the Red Devils with he finishing touch as they left with all three points.