United suffered a first defeat in the Elite Group of the Barclays Under-21 Premier League by coming unstuck 3-1 at Tottenham.
Spurs fielded a strong side, including former Red Ezekiel Fryers and the outstanding Jake Livermore, but it was Jon Obika who did the bulk of the damage with a splendid hat-trick.
The Reds managed to draw level at the start of the second half through Tom Thorpe but conceded shortly afterwards and a breakaway third in the closing stages sealed the home side's victory.
Obika opened the scoring following a spell of pressure when a Fryers cross was not dealt with by the United defence. Although Adnan Januzaj had a goal rightly ruled out for offside early on, Warren Joyce's side struggled to create any real threat in the first period but soon regrouped and improved after the break.
Thorpe drilled a superb strike into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards out after some good work by Januzaj and Lingard to provide a real boost but the joy was short-lived as a corner led to Harry Kane heading against the bar and Obika stooped to nod in the rebound.
Only a good save from the impressive Sam Johnstone kept out Obika as, although Nick Powell and Ryan Tunicliffe did go close to forcing another equaliser, the North Londoners were good value for the three points and made certain of the win late on when Dean Parrett set up for Obika, who beat Johnstone in a one-on-one situation to complete his treble.
United: Johnstone; Vermijl, Brown, Fornasier, McGinty; Cole (Blackett 79), Thorpe, Tunnicliffe, Lingard (Ekangamene 85); Januzaj (Lawrence 68); Powell. Subs not used: Sutherland, van Velzen.