Second-half show earns Reds Trophy points
Manchester United's Under-21s turned on the style in the second half to secure a 3-0 win at Bradford City in the Papa John's Trophy.
There was little to split the teams in the opening half but Dillon Hoogewerf's introduction led to a devastating attacking approach, with Charlie Savage soon on the scoresheet. Joe Hugill made it 2-0 from close range and Hoogewerf added a third with a fine solo strike.
It could have been more in the end as the youngsters enjoyed putting on a show for the noisy band of travelling supporters in West Yorkshire.
The first real attempt on goal came when Zidane Iqal's dangerous ball took a nick off Shola Shoretire but was gathered safely by keeper Sam Hornby.
Matej Kovar was called into action at the other end to keep out Kian Scales with his feet but there was a better save from his opposite number when Shoretire fed Iqbal, who juggled the ball before driving goalwards and forcing a smart stop out of Hornby.
Oliver Crankshaw did well to get past Savage and fire in a cross-cum-shot that was beaten away by Kovar before the ball was in the net for United soon afterwards. Charlie Wellens's excellent cross was diverted to the back post by Hugill and Shoretire finished clinically, only to be thwarted by the assistant referee's flag.
Paul McShane, providing valuable experience and aerial assertiveness at the heart of the back four, was booked as the half drew to a close with the match remaining goalless.
Neil Wood made a tactical switch at the interval, introducing Hoogewerf for Bjorn Hardley, switching Alvaro Fernandez to left-back and moving Wellens into the right-hand side of defence.
Within a couple of minutes, the deadlock was broken when a corner was only partially cleared to Savage, whose fierce effort deflected into the net for the opener.
Hugill almost smuggled in a second at the near post and the chances started to come thick and fast with Crankshaw and Charles Vernam almost getting a sight of goal during a scramble. Back came United with Savage's screamer flying over the top after Shoretire's shot was blocked.
Levi Sutton was afforded too much time inside the area but lashed over and it proved a costly miss for the Bantams. In the 57th minute, substitute Hoogewerf did brilliantly down the right and expertly picked out Hugill in the centre, with the striker ramming home his first goal of the season.
The Reds remained a real threat as Shoretire just had one touch too many after some creative approach work while Hoogewerf and Iqbal forced saves out of Hornby. Substitute Andy Cook worked Kovar at the other end but there was a sting in the tail from the visitors when Hoogewerf capped a bright second-half display by collecting a Shoretire pass and racing through to crack in a splendid third.
Iqbal blasted over and Alejandro Garnacho was close with a curler before Bradford's Crankshaw had a stoppage-time goal ruled out for offside. It all sets things up nicely for the final group game at Sunderland, following the 3-2 loss to Lincoln City in our opener.
United: Kovar; Fernandez, Mengi (c), McShane, Hardley (Hoogewerf 46); Savage, Svidersky; Wellens, Shoretire, Iqbal (Garnacho 86); Hugill (Emeran 80).
Subs not used: Mee, Jurado, Murray, Mainoo.
Scorers: Savage 47, Hugill 57, Hoogewerf 82.