United’s winless streak in the Academy League continued at Carrington on Saturday with a heavy defeat to Everton.
Despite another Jack Barmby goal and some excellent saves by Joseph Coll, the Reds were second best to a Toffees side inspired by Ross Barkley, a young midfielder with seven first-team appearances under his belt.
The much-talked about Barkley assisted the opening and fourth goals for Everton, and came closest to scoring in the deadlocked first half when he forced a fine stop from Coll.
The United goalkeeper also thwarted Chris Long in a period of few chances, while Sam Byrne spurned the Reds’ best opportunity when he scooped Kenji Gorre’s pull-back over the bar.
Goalless at half-time, the game opened up immediately after the break with Anton Forrester slotting low past Coll from Barclay’s pass and then Jack Barmby finding an instant equaliser for the Reds, curling a free-kick into the top right corner.
Coll tipped John Lundstram’s long-range effort over the bar in the 58th minute, only for the resulting setpiece to bring Everton their second goal. When the corner was half-cleared by the Reds, Toffees left-back Ibou Touray netted with a terrific long-range volley.
United coach Paul McGuinness made his first change at that point, replacing Luke Hendrie with Jack Rudge, but it was Everton who made the next alteration to the scoresheet when Jasper Johns played a one-two with Forrester inside the area to beat Coll and make it 3-1.
The Reds brought on two more substitutes – Adnan Januzaj and Mats Daehli, both of whom could start in Thursday’s FA Youth Cup tie at Swansea – but to no avail as Everton wrapped up their comfortable victory with 14 minutes remaining.
Barkley was involved again, winning a header from Coll’s kick upfield and directing it towards Hallam Hope who lobbed over the advancing United keeper.