Manchester United’s youngsters slipped to a first league defeat since the opening day of the season in the Mini-Derby at City’s Etihad Campus on Saturday.
The reverse also meant that Manchester City leapfrogged over Kieran McKenna’s lads to capture top spot in the table.
There were brief falls of snow in east Manchester early morning but, by the time the teams took the field blue skies were sharing the heavens with fluffy white clouds. Manchester has always been famous for its weather and it certainly appears on some days to have a climate all of its own.
And bright sunshine was illuminating the scene when United strode into the lead in the fifth minute. Nishan Burkart was responsible for the assist with a brave run which saw him burst into the City penalty area before crossing for Tahith Chong to blast the ball high into the Blues’ net in his first start since suffering a knee injury last season.
It was great start for the Reds but, sadly, our lead was too short-lived for, within two minutes, City had levelled the scores through Keke Simmonds. It was certainly a lively opening and a typical derby match feel with both sides going full throttle from the off.
United then had two good opportunities to regain the lead but Burkart was halted just as he was about to shoot and Lee O’Connor headed narrowly wide of the post. Instead, City moved into the lead in the 38th minute with a goal from Colin Rosler, son of former City striker Uwe, from Tommy Doyle's cross.
In the very next minute, United were presented with the chance to draw level when Chong was felled in the area, but Angel Gomes blazed his spot-kick over the goal guarded by his fellow Under-17 World Cup winner Curtis Anderson.
It proved a turning point as, moments later, United slipped further behind when winger Simmonds grabbed his second goal of the game with a shot that deflected in off Jake Barrett.
United had given themselves a mountain to climb and our plight became worse in the 73rd minute when City skipper Eric Garcia headed his side’s fourth goal, against the run of play after a spell of pressing by the visitors.
George Tanner and Gomes had promising shot saved by keeper Anderson and, ultimately, the Reds had to accept that it just wasn’t going to be our day with the team reduced to nine men at one point while a couple of players received treatment off the pitch.
United: Fojticek; Laird, O’Connor, Barrett (Tanner 46), B. Williams; Puigmal (Baars 65), Garner, Barlow, Chong (Levitt 65); Gomes; Burkart. Subs not used: Carney, Mellor.