Premier Under 21 League
Manchester United 1 Manchester city 2
A frustrating season for the Under-21s continued with defeat in a lively derby encounter that showcased much enterprising play for both sides, but ended in victory for a city side who, having surrendered an early lead once, were able to hold on after resuming their advantage in the second half.
Both sides started brightly, with Johnstone making an excellent save from Lee in the eighth minute, but from the resulting corner the same player gave city the lead, exploiting lax defending from United and scoring with a powerful header. United responded strongly and, with both sides looking comfortable on the ball and both sets of full backs overlapping to dangerous effect, the match quickly became an open, entertaining contest. As the half went on, the Reds began to push further up the pitch and support lone striker Will Keane. Rothwell’s cross across the area just failed to find James; Petrucci was denied by the keeper at close range and, in the closing seconds of the half, Keane himself connected with a free header that fell just wide of the post.
United wasted little time after the break in getting back on terms. Lingard exploited gaps in the city defence with a fine solo run before finishing expertly low in the far corner. The city response was swift, however, Devante Cole delivering an excellent run and cross from the left to set up Glendon to regain the lead for the blues. United pressed for an equaliser, with our own Cole, Larnell, a constant threat to city’s defence from the right, a threat that was doubled with the introduction of the powerful Janko at right back.
The visitors always looked composed on the ball, however, and, though United pushed extra men forward in an attempt to bring the scores level, they ultimately saw out the game with some comfort.