Manchester Under-21s slipped to a first defeat in the Barclays U21 Premier League on Saturday morning after losing 4-2 to an impressive Tottenham Hotspur side.
Both teams started the game brightly, and the Reds were lucky to get away without conceding the game's first goal just before the quarter-hour mark, when the impressive Alex Pritchard cut inside and hit a shot against Sam Johnstone's crossbar, with the young keeper left grasping thin air. That scare pushed the Reds into immediate action, as Jesse Lingard tucked United into an early lead just two minutes later, after Joshua King's driving run towards the line and cutback found the young midfielder with the goal at his mercy.
However, the hosts responded well to going behind, as right-back Ryan Fredricks forced Sam Johnstone into a good save with his feet with his feet by the near post, before levelling within eight minutes later. In an similar fashion to United's goal, Cristian Ceballos' cutback from the touchline somehow avoided the massed red shirts in the box and presented Serbian midfielder Milos Veljkovic with the easiest of tap-ins to level the scores at 1-1.
Spurs continued to press, and Johnstone was almost called into action again, as a curling effort from Jonathan Obika spun wide of the post, whilst at the other end, Robbie Brady, Jesse Lingard and Joshua King all spurned good chances in quick succession to restore United's lead.
The Reds were almost punished for this period of poor finishing, as Tottenham's Jack Barthram also missed the target from close range after United had failed to clear Fredricks' ball in. The visitors had further chances to go ahead before the break, as Brady and Tunnicliffe stung the palms of Spurs goalkeeper Jonathan Miles, and Michael Keane headed over from close range following Lingard's corner.
Joshua King was withdrawn at half time through injury to be replaced by Tom Lawrence, and it was