By Scott Taylor
Rhian Brewster continued his rich vein of form with another goal but Liverpool U18s were held to a 3-3 draw after missing two penalties against Manchester United at the Kirkby Academy. Callum Gribbin opened the scoring for the visitors before Brewster and McAuley completed the turnaround despite Dhanda missing a first-half spot-kick, but Gribbin equalised before half-time. Dhanda put Liverpool back in front with his sixth of the season, but Gribbin sealed his hat-trick in the closing stages as the Reds again missed a penalty with Brewster being denied by Moutha-Sebtaoui. Head Coach Neil Critchley made three changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Wolves on Tuesday, with Abdi Sharif, Michel Parker and Rhian Brewster returning to the starting line-up.
Adam Lewis, Bobby Adekanye and Jordan Hunter all dropped to the bench, with captain Conor Masterson occupying a new role in the Reds midfield alongside Liam Coyle.
The visitors started the brighter of the two sides, and their effort was rewarded in the 13th minute when Gribbin latched onto a loose ball to put the visitors ahead after Atherton denied Indy Boonen.
However, Liverpool weren’t behind for long. Coyle won a tackle in midfield and Brewster ended a fine team move with his fifth goal for the U18s in just his sixth start of the season.
The Reds completed the turnaround shortly after, when Dhanda turned provider for Irish forward McAuley, who continued his form in front of goal with his ninth goal of the season for the U18s.
McAuley was heavily involved in Liverpool’s next chance of the game, as the youngster was brought down by Jake Kenyon in the area, but Dhanda’s missed another spot-kick, almost a year to the day after missing two in the 0-0 draw with Wolves.
The Reds were left to rue that missed chance as Gribbin scored his second of the afternoon to equalise in the 37th minute as a frantic first-half ended with the midfielder firing in off the post.
Dhanda scored both goals in the 2-1 win earlier in the season, and the forward made amends for his spot-kick miss with his third goal against the Red Devils this season with a fine individual finish.
In the 80th minute, Liverpool had again had the chance to put the game to bed, but this time England U17 forward Brewster was denied by Moutha-Sebtaoui in the United goalkeeper.
With just one minute of normal time left in the game, United were given a penalty of their own after Atherton brought down Josh Bohui.
The dramatic irony came full circle as Liverpool missed two penalties, and Gribbin stepped up to score from 12 yards to seal his hat-trick and earn a point for the visitors.
Liverpool U18s are next in action when they travel to Blackburn Rovers next Saturday morning.
Liverpool U18s: Atherton; Sharif, Parker, Johnston, Owens; Coyle, Masterson; Camacho, Brewster, Dhanda; McAuley.
Man Utd U18s: Moutha-Sebtaoui; Tenner, Warren, O’Conner, Kenyon; Whelan, Buffonge; Bonnan, Gribbin, Gomes; Burkhart.