Man Utd Res 3 - Blues Res 1

Last updated : 03 October 2003 By Brian Cartlidge

Keith Bertschins side, which included many players with first team experience, got off to the perfect start in the game at Moss Lane when Argentinian striker Luciano Figueroa gave them a 26th minute lead.

A good low cross from the left by Stern John was met at the near post by Figueroa, who calmly poked it past the advancing Heaton into the net from four yards out.

Blues however, seemed to settle on their slender lead and United came back strongly.

Their endeavour finally paid rewards five minutes before the break when young midfielder Davey Jones equalised with the goal of the game. Picking the ball up 25 yards out in a central position he sailed into the box beating Carter, Tebilly and Kenna on his way and hit a sweet shot past the helpless Bagnall in the Blues goal to send the sides in at the break all level

Blues started the second half brightly but an unfortunate handball by Painter, the ball appearing to roll up his arm after he miscontrolled it, resulted in a penalty to United. Nardiello made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick, sending Bagnall the wrong way to give United a 2-1 lead.

Within minutes of the restart Blues came close to grabbing an equaliser on two occasions. Firstly Kirovski's corner was headed just over the bar by Tebily and then an absolutely brilliant left-foot volley from 25 yards out from Darren Carter rattled the United crossbar.

United wrapped the game up on 75 minutes when Nardiello scored his second and the Reds third. A long ball from the right, over the top of the Blues defence, was met on the left by the United striker who eased his way past Kenna into the box and fired home an angled left foot shot past Bagnall.

This took the stuffing out of the Blues side and apart from a snap shot from Figueroa three minutes from time they never looked like clawing their way back into the game.

One bright note from the game was that Blues defender Martin Grainger lasted 66 minutes in his comeback from a long term knee injury before being replaced by Carl Shepperd.

Man Utd: Heaton; Lynch, Tierney, McShane, Tate; Jones, Eagles, Pugh, Timm; Nardiello, Johnson. Subs: Steele (GK), M Williams, Poole, Eckersley, Byrne.

Blues: Bagnall, Kenna, Grainger (Shepperd 66), Carter, Painter, Tebily, Morrison, Kirovski, Figueroa, John (Barrowman 64). Motteram Subs: Legzdins, Hall, Hinks.