Manchester United's Under-18s put the disappointment of their opening-day defeat at West Ham behind them as they recorded an encouraging victory over Stoke City at Clayton Wood.
Paul McGuinness' side controlled much of the play and, with a touch of fortune, could have at least doubled their goalscoring output. It was a dull, damp and chilly morning in the Potteries, but there was a good turn-out to see a fixture that is always feisty and keenly contested.
United had the better of the early chances with midfielder Sean Goss showing up well in attack. Goss’ persistence paid off in the 13th minute when he fired his side into the lead after meeting a left-wing cross from Demetri Mitchell. And Mitchell went close barely a minute later as the Reds looked to consolidate their early advantage.
The visitors continued to take the game to Stoke and, in the 20th minute, Ashley Fletcher increased the lead from close range after the Potters’ defence had failed to clear a loose ball.
Stoke should have pulled one back in the 33rd minute when Peter Makrillos failed to make the most of a tempting rebound after United keeper Dean Henderson had pushed away a shot from Derice Richards.
McGuinness' boys wasted no time in stretching their lead following the interval for, within five minutes, James Wilson had set up Mitchell to tap home the third goal.
Stoke improved to some degree in the second half, but United continued to be in charge and certainly looked the more dangerous in front of goal.
Wilson could have had a hat-trick in the latter stages of the contest, but unfortunately Lady Luck wasn’t shining on him. Ruairi Croskery had the ball in the net close to the end, but the assistant referee’s flag was already signalling offside.
United: Henderson; Evans, McConnell, Borthwick-Jackson, Thompson (Ioannou 71); Harrop, Goss, Willock, Mitchell (Croskery 65); Fletcher (Riley 65), Wilson. Subs not used: O’Hara, Redmond.