United's free-scoring Under-18s really found their shooting boots in a blistering performance against Sunderland, at the Wearside club’s training complex on Saturday afternoon.
The game started fifteen minutes later than billed, in very warm, sunny conditions in front of a modest gathering, and both teams took a little time to get into their stride, with the opening twenty minutes or so seemingly being used to gauge the strength of the opposition.
Sunderland had the first chance of the game, but United goalkeeper Alex Fojticek was rapidly off his line to remove the threat.
At the other end, the visitors looked lively, if occasionally a little hesitant in front of goal, but then, in the 22nd minute, sharp-shooter Mason Greenwood opened the scoring with a terrific effort and the complexion of the match was changed in an instant.
The Reds, wearing all dark blue on this occasion, took control of the match from then on. Although it was only 2-0 at the break - Aliou Traore getting the second goal on the stroke of half-time - United were, after the break, looking capable of adding to the score with every attack.
Early in the second half, the Black Cats’ main striker Cole Kiernan was stretchered from the field following treatment after colliding with United’s Di’shon Bernard.
Traore raised the score to 3-0, seven minutes after the interval, and eight minutes later Charlie McCann fired home to keep Neil Ryan’s side on course for a resounding victory.
There were no further goals until fourteen minutes from the close, but in short order, Ethan Laird, D’Mani Mellor and Greenwood all found the net to give our youngsters the biggest win of the season so far.
It has to be said that the 7-0 scoreline in no way flattered the victors, who were in virtually total control of the proceedings in the second half.
United: Fojticek; Laird, Mendi, Bernard, Williams B.; Galbraith, Levitt; Puigmal (Mellor 63), Traore (McGhee 63), McCann (Ramazani 69); Greenwood.
Substitutes not used: Thompson, Stanley.
Scorers: Greenwood 22, 89, Traore 45, 52, McCann 60, Laird 76, Mellor 89.