A double from the tricky Alejandro Garnacho and a header from the skipper Rhys Bennett helped Manchester United to a 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest in front of over 60,000 fans at Old Trafford.
The 'Class of '22' under Travis Binnion made it eleven Youth Cup titles for United, ten years on from their last title in 2011.
And United started fast, winning a corner inside 20 seconds thanks to Kobbie Mainoo’s mazy run. However, it was Nottingham Forest who came closest to opening the scoring on four minutes when a corner of their own was headed wide by Jamie McDonell who, unmarked, should have done better.
- The FA Youth Cup Final
- Wednesday 11 May 2022
- Old Trafford, Manchester United FC
Forest had some chances to respond quickly, with a Josh Powell shot blocked and an acrobatic effort by Dale Taylor easily gathered by United stopper Radek Vitek. Justin Hanks then had another free header from a corner which sailed over the bar as United struggled to cope with Forest’s set pieces.
A quarter of the way through, Forest again had opportunities to equalise, unsurprisingly from another dead ball situation and more shots blocked. United had been poor since taking the lead but responded with some good play from Hansen who had a shot snuffed out by the Forest backline.
Towards the interval, United’s U18 player of the year, Alejandro Garnacho, was starting to have more influence. The Argentine-Spanish forward flashed a shot across the face of goal after another Mainoo dribble, before a first-time effort from the edge of the box curled wide of the target.
And right on half time, Forest got a deserved equaliser when Powell, the liveliest player in the first half, struck a low drive from just outside the area which slipped through Vitek’s grasp to see the teams go in level at the break.
Like the first, there was another fast start to the second half where an early opening for Forest saw Vitek claim a cross whilst getting a whack for his troubles. At the other end, Hansen and Garnacho were at the heart of three quick-fire shots from United before right-back Marc Jurado unleashed a fierce drive which stung the palms of Bott with Charlie McNeill unable to follow up.
The biggest controversy came with less than 15 minutes to go. Forest attempted to play out from the back and a heavy touch from Zach Abbott was pounced upon by Garnacho. Abbott tripped the highly-rated attacker and referee Josh Smith awarded a penalty. Garnacho stepped up and coolly slotted home to give his side the lead.
Forest couldn’t really recover and failed to create any more chances to get themselves back in the game once more, and after a few subs apiece, United sealed the game. A tired clearance was pounced on by the effervescent Garnacho who drove into the area, cut onto his right foot, chopped back onto his left, and had his deflected shot fire into the net for his seventh FA Youth Cup goal.
Forest can be proud of their efforts on the night, but the standout impact of Garnacho on the opposite side – meant the FA Youth Cup returned to Old Trafford for the eleventh time.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): 1. Radek Vitek, 2. Marc Jurado, 3. Sam Murray, 4. Louis Jackson, 5. Rhys Bennett ©, 6. Kobbie Mainoo, 7. Sam Mather, 8. Dan Gore, 9. Charlie McNeill, 10. Isak Hansen, 11. Alejandro Garnacho
Substitutes: Sonny Aljofree for Sam Mather (86’), Maximillian Oyedele for Hansen (64’), Joe Hugill for Charlie McNeill (64’)
Substitutes not used: 12. Logan Pye, 13. Tom Wooster (GK), 14. Omari Forson, 18. Ethan Ennis
Manager: Travis Binnion
Goals: Bennett (13’), Garnacho (78’, 90+4’)
Nottingham Forest (5-3-2): 1. Aaron Bott, 2. Zach Abbott, 3. Kyle McAdam, 4. Ben Hammond, 5. Pharrell Johnson, 6. Justin Hanks, 7. Joshua Powell, 8. Jamie McDonnell ©, 9. Detlef Esapa-Osong, 10. Dale Taylor, 11. Sam Collins
Substitutes: Ben Perry for Sam Collins (73’), Joe Gardner for Justin Hanks (81’), Aaron Korpal for Jamie McDonnell (90+1’)
Substitutes not used: 12. Alex Akers (GK), 14. Jack Perkins, 15. Jack Thompson, 17. Jack Nadin
Manager: Warren Joyce
Goals: Powell (43’)
Referee: Josh Smith