There were 67,492 fans seated inside the Theatre of Dreams to cheer on both United and visitors Forest with arguably the most evenly matched FA Youth Cup Final in a long while. After some sustained pressure, United took the lead through their captain Rhys Bennett in the 13th minute to the joy of the Red Army.
Forest was not to be done and after a howler by Manchester United’s goalkeeper Radek Vitek, a long-range shot from Josh Powell crept under the custodian. This put a halt to the momentum of Travis Binnion’s side and into the halftime break; it’s 1-1.
In the 2nd half, it was Forest who started the brighter causing Vitek to be off his line very frequently. Goalscorer Josh Powell aimed to deliver some sumptuous crosses into the box, but to no one in particular. These wasted chances could be costly later in the game.
It wasn’t until the 77th minute, after some pressure high up the pitch, United’s winger Garnacho benefited from a heavy touch from defender Zach Abbott, and after he was taken down the only question was; was that in the box? On replay it shows that the foul occurred outside the 18-yard-area, however, the referee pointed to the spot after consulting with the linesman on the nearside.
This is when the Warren Joyce knew he needed something to claw their way back into the final, and he made some attacking substitutions to go for it. This was countered by his opposing manager who swiftly replaced Sam Mather for defender Sony Aljofree.
The 4th official raised the board to display eight minutes of stoppage time. Eight minutes for United to hold on. Eight minutes for Forest to draw level for a second time. When going for it, you are vulnerable to counterattacks, and in the 3rd minute of stoppage time, it was all over.
A missed control from a Forest defender had the ball running through to Alejandro Garnacho who was off. The Argentine sprinted away from the defenders but took the ball too wide. After some trickery cutting in from the left to then cut back onto his left foot before firing his shot in via a massive deflection.
The future of both sets of players will be examined over the next five or so years, seeing as they played in the youth cup final. Whether Nottingham or Manchester, we are all eager to see who comes out on top in terms of career from that final.