U21s: Brighton v Manchester United
Manchester United's Under-21s put up a valiant display but were unfortunately beaten 3-2 by Brighton and Hove Albion in Premier League 2 on Friday evening.
A flurry of first-half goals saw our young Reds twice lead during the opening 45 minutes, with Joe Hugill's deflected effort at goal turned into his own net by Sam Packham inside 60 seconds.
Ruairi McConville then levelled the game just three minutes later for the Albion, before Noam Emeran's superb free-kick saw United take the lead once more.
Cameron Peupion equalised for the hosts on the stroke of half-time with the score at 2-2, before Mark O'Mahony's goal midway through the second period ensured the Seagulls took all three points.
United flew out of the blocks and took the lead inside the first minute, as Hugill's strike deflected off Peckham and flew past Tom McGill to make it 1-0 to the Reds.
However, with Sam Murray cautioned as Brighton sprung forward moments later, the hosts found an instant leveller. Luca Barrington's free-kick found defender McConville, who nodded home to square the game.
Mark Dempsey's side continued to come forward and went close to re-taking the lead with 20 minutes gone. Dan Gore's header from the middle of the penalty area flashed just narrowly wide.
But that didn't dampen United's spirits, as with 24 minutes gone, Emeran's well-placed free-kick flew into the top corner to restore our advantage on the south coast.
Albion continued to press and almost hit back instantaneously again, when Jamie Mullins' low left-footed strike connected with Radek Vitek's post.
With just minutes remaining in the first half, the Seagulls equalised once more, Peupion lofting the ball over Vitek before tapping home into an empty net to make it 2-2.
But with just over twenty minutes remaining it was the hosts who took the lead for the first time in the contest after Peupion did well to find space and deliver a low cross into the box. O'Mahony had the easy task of tapping home to make it 3-2.
Brighton were then reduced to ten men just moments after going ahead, with Casper Nilsson shown a second yellow card after taking too long to over a throw-in.
United opted to bring on both Sam Mather and Omari Forson in a bid to find a vital equaliser, with the latter seeing his late effort charged down well by the Brighton backline.
Isak Hansen-Aaroen tried his luck from range in the closing stages, with his effort well saved by McGill.
Gore then weaved his way inside the area as our young Reds continued to probe, but it was Brighton who hung on to claim victory.
United: Vitek; Jurado, Hardley, Aljofree, Murray (Forson, 80); Collyer, Gore (c); Mejia (Mather, 77), Hansen-Aaroen, Emeran; Hugill.
Subs: Mee, Wellens, Oyedele.
Goals: Packham OG 1, Emeran 23.