He definitely started ...
I'll investigate ...
Seems he was "outstanding" ...
United Reserves' long unbeaten run came to an end on Thursday evening against
Blackburn Rovers â€“ the side who inflicted the Reds' last defeat back in October.
Brian McClair and Jim Ryan's side came unstuck after a spectacular early strike
from Rovers' Alan Judge and a second half clincher from striker Jamie Clarke â€“
while Danny Welbeck's late strike was nothing more than a consolation after
United were incredibly denied by the woodwork on four occasions.
Welbeck was a whisker away from giving United the lead after just four minutes,
but could only drag his improvised shot wide of the post after a neat exchange
with strike partner Chris Eagles.
United were to rue that miss as Alan Judge gave the visitors the lead in
spectacular fashion just six minutes later. Having emerged from a 50-50
challenge with Sam Hewson in possession of the ball, the midfielder lashed a
shot which swerved and dipped over Ron-Robert Zieler via the underside of the
Whereas Judge's effort was aided by the woodwork, United were denied by the
goal's frame at the other end just before the 20 minute mark. Eagles received
the ball on the edge of the Blackburn area and curled a neat effort towards the
top corner, but was left frustrated as the ball bounced off the top of the bar and
It was Rovers who were left to curse their luck 10 minutes later, however, as
Clarke raced through on goal, but could only sidefoot his effort fractionally past
Zieler's right-hand post.
Danny Simpson and Dong Fangzhuo were introduced at half-time in place of
Gerard Pique and Eagles respectively, and the Chinese striker immediately
galvanised United's forward play.
Five minutes after the interval the Reds seemed certain to draw level after decent
approach play from Dong, but were twice denied by the woodwork. First
Cleverley's 20-yard drive hit Rovers' right-hand post, then Welbeck stabbed the
rebound against the same upright.
The England youth striker was then denied again after an almighty scramble. His
initial shot was blocked and then, after clever play from the outstanding Rodrigo
Possebon and David Gray had ended with another blocked shot from Cleverley,
Welbeck struck the underside of the bar from just two yards.
Undeterred, the Reds continued to lay siege to Bussman's goal, and with 20
minutes remaining the Rovers goalkeeper made a fine save to keep out Dong's
volley at his near post.
Completely against the run of play, however, Rovers made the game safe a
minute later. Clarke semi-controlled a through ball but managed to outmuscle
Eckersley, before sliding a shot past Zieler and into the net.
Matters were made worse for United a couple of minutes later, unfortunately, as
Dong was stretchered off following a heavy kick to the knee from Gunning.
United were finally handed a route back into the match with just a minute of
normal time remaining. Hewson did well to divert Evans' cross into the path of
Welbeck, and he finally registered his name on the scoresheet with a volley into
the roof of the net.
It was too little, too late however, and the Reds slipped to a first defeat in 11
matches â€“ although Messrs McClair and Ryan will still take positives from their
side's performance which, on another night, could have yielded a comfortable
United: Zieler; Gray, Pique (Simpson 46), Cathcart, Eckersley; Cleverley, Hewson,
Possebon, S Evans; Welbeck, Eagles (Dong 46 (Barnes, 76)).
Subs not used: Amos, Chester