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Manchester United thwart Northern Ireland teenagers' quest to make FA Youth Cup history

By Darren Fullerton

Northern Ireland underage stars Dale Taylor and Jamie McDonnell’s quest to make FA Youth Cup history was thwarted by Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.

Argentine teenager Alejandro Garnacho bagged a second-half brace, the first a contentious penalty to make it 2-1, to seal a 3-1 win at the Theatre of Dreams.

Joshua Powell had cancelled out Rhys Bennett’s early opener for United as Nottingham Forest U18s chased the club’s first ever win in the prestigious competition.

Read more: Glentoran boss Mick McDermott plays down transfer link with former Linfield star

Former Linfield youngster Taylor, who made his senior Northern Ireland debut in November, led the line for the visitors while McDonnell, who wore the captain’s armband, impressed in midfield.

Both Northern Ireland teenagers went close to scoring, McDonnell heading wide early doors while Taylor forced a save from Radek Vitek with an acrobatic volley.

On his Instagram account, McDonnell wrote: "Disappointing night but great experience."

A record crowd of 67,492 were there to watch United lift the trophy for a record 11th time and a number of famous faces were watching on in the bumper crowd.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Ryan Giggs and Bryan Robson were all onlookers from the main stand, as were Manchester United first team stars David de Gea, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes.

Garnacho, who made his Premier League debut last month, was the star of the show, edging United ahead from the penalty spot before adding a third deep into stoppage time.

The third goal put an unfair complexion on what was a competitive tussle while the penalty was awarded for a foul that TV replays later showed was outside the box.

Forest U18s boss Warren Joyce fumed: “We’re disappointed with the second one, because clearly he’s outside of the box, and it was a crucial stage of the game.

“It’s not even close. In big games like this, it’s hard for the lads to take when they look back on that, at a time when the game could have gone either way.

“In this day and age as well, when there’s all the technology available, I think it’s poor that in a final like this.. it can scar lads for a long time.

“They have got some excellent players, but they’ve not carved us open. The third goal makes it a bigger margin than it was.”

Read more: Kyle McClelland set for Rangers exit as English clubs line up move

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Dive Deeper:
Alejandro Garnacho can make Manchester United statement in FA Youth Cup final
Man Utd take on Nottingham Forest in the FA Youth Cup final at Old Trafford on Wednesday and Alejandro Garnacho…
New boss Erik ten Hag makes early Manchester United request following FA Youth Cup victory
New Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is eager to take a closer look at the youngsters who clinched the…
NI teenagers Dale Taylor and Jamie McDonnell targeting cup history at Theatre of Dreams
Nottingham Forest duo set to face Manchester United in U18s showpiece at a sold-out Old Trafford
NI teenagers Dale Taylor and Jamie McDonnell tipped for bright futures after Youth Cup final
Dale Taylor and Jamie McDonnell were rated two of Forest's top three performers at Old Trafford
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Defeat for Nottingham Forest in FA Youth Cup but three key players give reasons for optimism
Latest Nottingham Forest news from NottinghamshireLive as three players provide reason for optimism despite a 3-1 loss to Manchester United…
Manchester United clinch FA Youth Cup in front of record crowd at Old Trafford
Alejandro Garnacho fired Manchester United to their first FA Youth Cup win since 2011
Get all your news in one place