United's Under-18s couldn't make the most of their chances and eventually went down 2-0 against a strong Middlesbrough side on Saturday.
The Reds got off to a rapid start in a match full of incident, and could have taken the lead on numerous occasions early in the game, most notably inside the first 30 seconds. United's Italian striker Federico Macheda was put clean through, but Boro goalkeeper Jason Steele saved well to deny the Roman forward.
The home side came into the contest more as the half progressed and, despite United still creating chances, took the lead on 27 minutes when Jonathan Franks found space in the box and fired home to put Boro 1-0 up.
After the break the Reds had a deflected cross cleared off the line, before Boro had a goal disallowed and then hit the crossbar.
With ten minutes remaining the home team had Joe Bennett sent off and United really began to pile the pressure on. But as Paul McGuinness' young side poured forward, it left spaces open at the back and a Boro attack ended with Franks grabbing his second of the afternoon.
The Reds hit the bar late on, another reminder that they perhaps could have got more out of this game against an in-form side unbeaten this year.
United: Woods; Stewart, Strickland, Wootton, Dudgeon (Derbyshire); Norwood, James (Eikrem 70), C.Evans, Galbraith; Bryan, Macheda.
Subs not used: Gill