Under-23s: Manchester United 1 Derby County 2
Jason Shackell and Offrande Zanzala scored the goals as Derby County moved off the bottom of Premier League 2 with a 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Leigh Sports Village.
DJ Buffonge scored his first goal at Reserves level to equalise in the second half but the loss of Matthew Olosunde, who was taken off on a stretcher at the end of the first half, was another negative on the night for Ricky Sbragia's men.
After surviving an early scare, the Reds almost scored in the fifth minute when James Wilson latched onto a Demi Mitchell through ball and, from a tight angle, thumped a drive across Josh Barnes and against the far post. The visiting keeper may have got a faint touch to it and Zak Dearnley's rebound was blocked.
Barnes was in action again to save a low shot by Dearnley, following some neat skill by Buffonge, but Derby carried a real threat with Ikechi Anya particularly dangerous down the left. Luke Thomas was thwarted by Kieran O'Hara but headed the rebound goalwards, only for Joe Riley to make a superb clearance to keep the scores level.
Zanzala had a glorious chance to open the scoring, only for Olosunde to block, as the Rams continued to ask questions of the United defence. However, after referee Peter Gibbons was replaced by Richard Holmes due to an injury, Sbragia's side enjoyed a bright spell.
Wilson unloaded a fine strike that forced a diving stop out of Barnes and the keeper also denied Ethan Hamilton. Dearnley then fired across goal from a wide position when picked out by Buffonge. Olosunde was injured towards the end of the half and it looked a serious one for the American, while Wilson headed the final opportunity of the first period over the top from a Mitchell centre.
Substitute Jake Kenyon and Mitchell were off target before Zanzala looked certain to score for Derby, only for O'Hara to stick out a leg to divert the effort to safety. The deadlock was finally broken on 56 minutes, when Ethan Wassall flicked on a corner for Shackell to loop over O'Hara, a little fortuitously. It took only two minutes and 33 seconds for the Reds to respond with Kenyon feeding Hamilton, who did tremendously well down the left. They were queuing up in the middle and the cut-back was perfect for Buffonge to arrow a precise finish into the top corner of the net.
Wilson was crowded out after a surging run and Buffonge dipped an attempt over the bar but the Rams scored next as their 11th corner of the game led to Zanzala directing a downward header past O'Hara. Mitchell's free-kick sailed wide but Thomas twice went close to ending the contest in the closing stages.
United: O'Hara; Riley, Warren, Olosunde (Kenyon 45), Mitchell; Whelan (Boonen 82), Hamilton; Dearnley (Bohui 65), Buffonge, Kehinde; Wilson. Subs not used: Richardson, Sang.