U21s: Manchester United v Chelsea
Manchester United's Under-21s lost 3-1 to Chelsea in Monday's Premier League 2 encounter at Leigh Sports Village.
Despite Joe Hugill's second-half strike to draw our young Reds level midway through the second period, the Blues scored twice inside the final ten minutes to ensure victory for the visitors.
Kobbie Mainoo and Mateo Mejia both went close during the first half, while Marc Jurado's late free-kick narrowly evaded the target, as we battled well throughout the contest.
United began the game brightly in the opening exchanges, with Dan Gore's attacking impetus down the left flank enabling Kobbie Mainoo to be found inside the area. His effort at goal was, however, just a little too high.
Marc Jurado burst forward well on the opposite side before sliding in Mateo Mejia behind the Chelsea backline. The forward advanced well inside the penalty area, before his right-footed strike cannoned back off the woodwork and out of play.
Mason Burstow's first opening of the game saw him receive the ball well on the turn from Juan Castillo. His subsequent turn and shot flew over Radek Vitek's crossbar.
It was that same man, Burstow, who then handed the Blues the lead shortly after the half-hour mark, after a swift counterattack. A ball into the box fell kindly to the feet of the Chelsea no.9, before he prodded an effort past Vitek via a slight deflection.
Mainoo continued to look promising over on the left as the first half reached its conclusion. His marauding run saw him move past three players, before picking out Zidane Iqbal, whose shot hit the side netting soon after.
As the second half began, Iqbal went close to firing United ahead, with the ball bobbling around inside the penalty area, before he lashed his effort narrowly wide of the mark.
With just over an hour played, the Reds drew level, with Hugill reacting the quickly to restore parity in the game. Iqbal's initial shot at goal was seized upon by Hugill, who poked the ball past Gabriel Slonina to even up the scores
Mainoo took it upon himself to try and edge United forward as the game entered the final 20 minutes. The 17-year-old evaded two challenges before taking aim at goal, with his strike saved well by Slonina soon after.
Brandon Williams' inswinging corner was superbly met at the front post by Mainoo just moments later, again forcing the Blues' keeper into action to deny him. Hugill couldn't connect with the loose ball that followed.
Chelsea sprung forward with 82 minutes played and netted their second of the game in a harsh hammer blow, as Harvey Vale cut inside onto his favoured left foot, forcing Vitek into a smart stop. The ball fell kindly to Leo Castledine, who tapped home into an empty net to make it 2-1.
Jurado's curling drive was the closest United came to netting an equaliser in the closing stages, before the visitors broke forward deep into stoppage time to complete the scoring.
Malik Mothersille found himself in the right place at the right time, tapping home into an empty net, after Vitek had made a strong save once more.
United: Vitek; Jurado, Hardley, Aljofree, B.Williams; Huddlestone (E.Williams, 89), Iqbal; Mejia, Mainoo, Gore; Hugill.
Unused substitutes: Kambwala, Mee, Berry, Murray.
Goals: Hugill 59 | Burstow 32, Casteldine 82, Mothersille 90+4.