Youth Cup final, first leg
Richardson (left) scored a superb opener
Middlesbrough 0-2 Man Utd
Manchester United are within touching distance of their record ninth FA Youth Cup triumph after a first leg win over Middlesbrough.
Kieran Richardson's superb fourth-minute strike set the visitors up for a clinical triumph at the Riverside.
And Boro's fire was extinguished long before Ben Collett
drove powerfully home from an acute angle as the game entered stoppage time.
Coach Brian McClair knows his side must only avoid an embarrassing three-goal
home defeat at Old Trafford on 25 April to clinch the trophy many of United's
illustrious names have won in the past.
Boro, conquerors of Manchester City at the semi-final stage, could count
themselves unfortunate not to have levelled.
But striker James Morrison was left
stunned when Lee Lawrence foiled their best chance shortly before the break.
McClair could not have wished for a better start, as Richardson steered the
visitors in front on virtually their first attack.
Richardson proceeded to boss the game for the next 20 minutes, showing the
neat skills and persistent running which have earmarked him as the next
potential star to come through the United academy system.
Diminutive front man Anthony Peacock was behind most of the Teessiders' best
And he must have thought he had set James Morrison up for the equaliser when he
threaded an inch-perfect ball through the United defence five minutes from the
The Boro forward did little wrong, flicking the ball over advancing goalkeeper Luke Steele, then waiting for it to come down before hopefully
driving his shot into the empty net.
Full-back Lawrence had other ideas though, sprinting in to make a brilliant
goal-line block and preserve the visitors' advantage.
As both sides' play became increasingly disjointed, so the tackling started to
increase in ferocity.
Eddie Johnson was yellow-carded for a foul on Anthony McMahon before Boro had
a penalty appeal turn down by referee Rob Styles when Paul McShane appeared to
The energy had visibly disappeared
from Boro's legs and after substitute Sylvan Blake had seen a shot diverted away, Collett latched onto Chris Eagles' inswinging cross,
controlled at the far post and then blasted into the net.