Under-18s: Newcastle United 2 Manchester United 1
Manchester United's table-topping Under-18s slipped to only a third league defeat of the season in a keenly-fought contest away to Newcastle United.
The visitors finished the match with ten men after Ethan Galbraith was red-carded following an altercation with the referee.
This meeting at Newcastle United’s Academy ground could be looked upon as an appetiser for the Premier League game between the clubs’ first teams which will take place just down the road at St James’s Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds' travelling party had left the rain behind in Manchester, but it was cloudy and quite cold in this corner of the North East at kick-off time and from that moment it was clear that this was going to be a lively encounter as the play continually switched from one end to the other.
There was little to choose between the sides during the first segment of the game with clearcut chances proving to be very rare. Newcastle’s Adam Wilson had a shot blocked by George Tanner and striker Elias Sorensen had a well-struck drive comfortably fielded by Alex Fojtíček.
The second half, which was played in bright sunshine with a clear blue sky, came to life in the 53rd minute when Sorensen put his side in front with a shot that just squeezed inside the post.
McKenna's side then proceeded to have the best spell of the afternoon with Barlow leading the way with a couple of encouraging shots towards Otto Huuhtanen’s goal. Then, in the 68th minute, Chong put the visitors back on track when he grabbed the equaliser with a low drive past Huuhtanen.
The Reds looked certain to move into the lead when, ten minutes from time, a penalty was awarded against the home side for handball. However, Huuhtanen guessed Chong's chosen direction correctly and denied him a second goal with a decent save.
As the game reached added time it seemed certain that it would end all-square, but that theory was shattered when Newcastle substitute Mace Goodridge hit the winner past Fojtíček.
The Reds' sudden gloom was increased in the dying embers of the game when substitute Galbraith was given his marching orders for dissent.
Manchester United: Fojtíček; Tanner, Dunne, O’Connor, Williams B., Puigmal (Galbraith 69), Levitt; Chong, Traore (Barlow 36), Ramazani; Mellor (McGhee 75). Substitutes not used: Bernard, Thompson.