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YOUTH: United 1 - 4 Boro

Second friendly of the week for the Blues

8 July 2023

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United were at home for the second time in the space of four days when they hosted Middlesbrough at Creighton on Saturday afternoon.

And it was a tough morning for the under-18 side as they struggled to make any real headway against a disciplined visiting outfit.

But the hosts started brightly, with Murray high in support of good work from Hetherington and Chapman. The midfielder looked for room to shoot but he didn't quite catch it right and it spun harmlessly wide.

The red shirts started to settle and a break from deep inside their own half left them with men to spare. Randall covered the angles and his alertness forced a hurried and high shot.

It became a real battle for possession, with both sides untidy in the middle of the park, but Boro should have taken the lead when they once again broke from their territory. They somehow found the upright when it looked easier to score.

Keeper Tom Randall was in good form, with a fingertip save just past the half hour the pick of a number of decent interventions. 

And his sharp movement was vital in time added on for the period as another overload left him exposed. He closed down swiftly and that forced a rushed toe poke that bobbled past the post.

Middlesbrough took advantage of some wayward passing after the break, with a turnover deep inside the Carlisle half a key moment. Two quick passes resulted in the opening goal of the afternoon.

A low drive rattled the woodwork when another pass was intercepted, with the away team looking in confident mood. 

The lead was doubled on the hour when the ball was switched from left to right, and back again, before being dinked into the bottom corner.

Carlisle picked up the pace and they were rewarded when Hodgson floated it high towards the top corner. The keeper fumbled, and Swinburn did just about enough to help it on its way and over the line.

But a sloppy end to the game from the home team gifted Boro two more goals for their tally. Randall could do nothing as he was twice left to watch unmarked strikers pick their spot.

United - Randall, Hopper (Porter 46), O'Brien (Hodgson 60), Walsh, Fitzpatrick (Skinner 46), Allan, Murray (Park 62), Hetherington (Nicholson 46), Chapman, O'Donohue, Swinburn. Subs - Barry.

Goals - Swinburn (81)

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