Manchester Unider-18s playing against Derby Under-18s.

Under-18s suffer defeat to Derby

Manchester United’s Under-18s slipped to our third defeat of the season after going down 5-1 away to Derby County on Saturday afternoon.

Hit by a three-goal, seven-minute Rams salvo in the first half, it was a blow which the Reds couldn’t recover from, despite Mark Helm’s strike providing a glimmer of hope before the interval. Two further Derby goals after the break put the game well out of United’s reach.

The trio of Bjorn Hardley, Calen Gallagher-Allison and Hannibal Mejbri - all 16-year-olds - were called up to make their full Under-18 debuts in place of Connor Stanley, the suspended Reece Devine and Will Fish, who had made an impressive bow for the Under-23s against Fulham the previous evening at Leigh.

With Fish and Teden Mengi among those promoted to Neil Wood's squad, it has meant a younger side appearing at this level.

Charlie Wellens playing for Manchester United Under-18s against Derby County.
Charlie Wellens in action for United against the Rams.
Bright sunshine and clear skies were the order of the day as United’s Dillon Hoogewerf set the game in motion, and, in the opening few minutes, the Reds looked lively.

It was most certainly an encouraging start for Neil Ryan’s youngsters, but that changed dramatically as the Rams put away three rapid goals in the first 20 minutes.

The opener, in the 12th minute, was claimed by striker Bartosz Cybulski with a looping header and, soon after, Archie Brown capitalised on some slack defending to tap home the second.

United looked stunned, but worse was to follow when Cybulski grabbed his second of the afternoon with a close-range finish in the 19th minute.
Derby’s purple patch had left United with a mountain to climb. That said, the Reds gradually regained composure and, minute by minute, looked to have found the determination to negotiate a route back into the contest.

That glimpse of optimism was further enhanced in the 26th minute, when Helm, who appeared as a substitute the night before against Fulham Under-23s, hit a fierce right-foot shot past Derby keeper Bradley Foster-Theniger, after taking a cross-field pass from Charlie McCann.

The goal ensured United returned to the dressing room at the break in a slightly better frame of mind and another strike early in the second period could have given Ryan’s youngsters real hope of getting a positive result.

Helm on the mark for young RedsVideo

However, when the next goal did arrive, 10 minutes after the interval, it came courtesy of Jack Stretton.

Brown completed a miserable excursion for the young Reds when he grabbed his second goal just a minute before the full-time whistle.

United: Mastny; Bejger, Hockenhull, Hardley, Gallagher-Allison (Neville 46); Mejbri, McCann, Helm (Hughes 77); Wellens, Hoogewerf, Shoretire (Sotona 68).

Substitutes Not Used: Mee, Mejia.

Scorers: Derby - Cybulski 12, 19, Brown 15, 89, Stretton 55. United- Helm 26.

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