Manchester United came from behind to register a 2-1 win at Southampton and return from the long trip south with all three points in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League.
Warren Joyce fielded an experienced side featuring five players who have been out on loan - namely Tyler Blackett, Davide Petrucci, Jesse Lingard, Federico Macheda and Will Keane. Despite falling behind, Lingard and Larnell Cole scored the decisive goals.
The Saints were rewarded for a bright opening spell with a 15th-minute opener courtesy of Omar Rowe. The 19-year-old winger punished a lapse at the back to fire past Sam Johnstone in fine fashion with the outside of his boot.
Jack Stephens almost added a second when his long-range attempt whistled wide and Johnstone made a fine save to thwart Lloyd Isgrove but the Reds grew in stature and Lingard conjured up a marvellous equaliser on the half-hour mark. Advancing from midfield, the England Under-21 international unleashed a fierce 25-yarder that flew into the top corner of the net.
The visitors began to impose themselves at the start of the second half and pressed for an opening through Federico Macheda's run before his fellow Italian Davide Petrucci launched a glorious ball to Cole on the left-hand side of the box. The midfielder produced a calm finish across Cropper to hand the Reds the lead with 50 minutes on the clock.
Petrucci continued to pull the strings and he freed Cole again, only for Lingard's effort from the cross to force a stunning save out of Cropper. The keeper also prevented a Lingard cross from finding Will Keane as United's attacking play was a joy to watch.
Continuing to hold the upper hand, the Reds looked for more goals but Southampton remained in the game as it entered the closing stages. Indeed, they