Hello and welcome to our live blog for Manchester United’s final Under-21 home game of the season against Middlesbrough at Old Trafford.
Warren Joyce’s side continue their hunt for the Under-21 Premier League title and with three games in hand on leaders Sunderland, a win means Reds can continue their charge to a second consecutive Under-21 title.
Wayne Rooney’s also expected to make his return from injury for the Under-21s tonight, so it promises to be a good encounter against Boro, who are languishing near the bottom of the Under-21 table.
The football on show tonight may have been distinctly average, but Louis van Gaal will be pleased with Wayne Rooney coming through an hour on the pitch unscathed. Phil Jones also completed 90 minutes tonight, and it won’t be surprising if both men are on the bench against West Ham on Wednesday.
Thanks for joining us for our coverage tonight, we’ll see you soon.
FULL TIME: UNITED U21s 1-0 MIDDLESBROUGH U21s
Paddy McNair’s goal brings the Under-21s to within two points of the Premier League title, as Sunderland have lost 3-1 to Tottenham tonight.
A win for the Under-21s next week against Spurs in North London will seal consecutive titles for Warren Joyce’s men.
87′ – PEREIRA HITS THE CROSSBAR!
The Brazilian is set up after a barnstorming run by Tuanzebe, and the curler thunders off the crossbar. Would have been a spectacular goal.
Elsewhere in the Under-21 Premier League tonight, leaders Sunderland are losing 2-1 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
If results stay as they are, United will only need two points from their final three games to retain the title!
67′ – GOAL FOR UNITED! PADDY MCNAIR!
United finally break through. Pereira delivers a looping cross from the right and McNair, running from deep, picks up the ball and cooly smashes it past the Boro keeper.
65′ – Good build-up from United sees Love hit a fierce shot straight into the Boro keeper’s midriff. Either side of the keeper there and it could well have been a goal.
61′ – Rooney’s night is done. He comes off for another injury returnee in Tuanzebe.
All in all, a useful but quiet night for the first-team captain.
Pereira, who’s been given the captain’s armband after Weir came off at half-time, has looked good at the start of this second half. Just needs to apply himself and work back into first-team contention now.
55′ – A lovely ball by Pereira into the Boro area, but Redmond just can’t quite get his leg on the end of that cross.
53′ – Borthwick-Jackson’s been fouled on the edge of the area – could this be Rooney’s chance for a goal?
He takes the resulting free-kick…and it’s over the bar.
MUTV have given an update on both Rothwell and Weir, saying that Rothwell is being assessed in the dressing room while Weir’s been taken off as a precaution after taking a kick to the knee in the first-half.
46′ – We’re underway for the second half, and Pereira has the first shot of the half for United – a low effort that’s saved by Fryer.
The teams are back out for the second half, with United making a surprise change.
James Weir, one of United’s better performers, comes off for Sadiq El Fitouri.
United fans have also not been impressed with the challenge that forced Rothwell off:
There's no excuse for allowing that type of tackle in the game. He tried to seriously injure Rothwell. The ball was well gone #mufcu21
— GirlOnUtd (@GirlOnUtd) April 11, 2016
That Rothwell challenge makes me wanna throw up
— Ollie Quigley (@OllieQuigley) April 11, 2016
Reaction to the game so far, with Rooney getting praise for his performance:
For those not watching the u21 math, you're lucky. Awful match, Rooney however, has been involved in all the positives for United.#MUFC
— MUFC | IS | LIFE (@hassan_footyfan) April 11, 2016
Wayne Rooney's looked bright enough on his return from injury in the opening 45 minutes here. Phil Jones much improved too #mufc
— Liam Blackburn (@liamblackburn) April 11, 2016
Rooney has had some nice touches & put himself about well so far but sadly the u21's have been playing like the 1st team no chances created
— Man Utd News (@RooVanMataZaj) April 11, 2016
It’s been a pretty even half of football at Old Trafford. United have had more of the ball but chances have been few and far between for both sides.
As for Rooney, he’s had a couple of good touches and linked up well with James Weir, but otherwise it’s been pretty quiet return for the 30-year-old, who’s barely touched the ball in the six-yard box.
48′ – Devonte Redmond goes for a curler to end the half, but it’s comfortably held by the Boro keeper.
HALF-TIME: United U21s 0-0 Middlesbrough U21s
46′ – United press to try and end this first-half well, but Paddy McNair skies a shot over from range.
Three minutes of added time to end the first-half at Old Trafford.
Rooney watch – He has a go from 25 yards out, but the shot’s ballooned into the Scoreboard End.
Not his finest effort, he’ll happily admit.
37′ – Rothwell’s coming off – looks like he hasn’t shaken off the knock suffered during that awful challenge. Andreas Pereira comes on for him.
34′ – An awful challenge by Boro captain Jonathan Burn on Rothwell on the edge of the area, but no foul or card given. Rothwell receiving treatment on the pitch.