Under-23s hit Newcastle for five
Manchester United's first Premier League 2 victory of 2019 showed what the team is capable of when at full strength as Newcastle United were beaten 5-0 at St James' Park.
The Reds were able to field a strong line-up and it was an exceptional all-round display which lit up the famous north-east venue, described as a "joy to watch" afterwards by coach Ricky Sbragia.
Nishan Burkart opened the scoring after only three minutes and doubled the lead before Tahith Chong added a third in the 33rd minute.
The Tynesiders won 4-1 in the corresponding fixture and are pushing for promotion but they had no answer as Mason Greenwood curled in a beautiful free-kick and an own goal by Oliver Walters compounded the hosts' misery.
Remarkably, it was the home side who should have scored first as Rosaire Longelo was clean through inside the first 30 seconds, only for former Magpies keeper Paul Woolston, on his maiden Premier League 2 start for the Reds, to rush out and block the shot smartly.
The let-off merely sparked Sbragia's team into life as Gomes fed Greenwood, and his clever disguised through ball released Burkart for a simple finish. Gomes had an effort deflected off target after cutting through the defence by trading passes with Matthew Olosunde and, from the corner, there was a strong claim for a penalty, following a possible handball, that fell on deaf ears.
There was no denying United, though, with Gomes's spin and pass finding Burkart on the right. The Swiss striker cut inside and drilled past keeper Nathan Harker, with the aid of a slight deflection off Matt Longstaff.
Three minutes later, the outstanding Gomes cracked a fierce drive against the bar from just inside the box, after a cross from Chong went all the way through to him.
The pressure continued with Gomes playing a glorious pass with the outside of his boot into the path of Chong, who showed his pace to streak clear and bury a left-foot drive past Harker and into the corner of the net.
Still the red tide continued and Aidan Barlow volleyed off target, when the net seemed sure to bulge, after more fine play by Chong down the left as the Reds were simply sensational in the opening period, tearing the hosts' defence apart at times.
United were upset by an injury to Barlow, who landed awkwardly after leaping for the ball, but the pattern of the game remained the same. Chong was withdrawn, with Josh Bohui taking his place, and Newcastle finally enjoyed a short spell of possession, with Lewis Cass's shot well off target their only noteworthy attempt.
Greenwood started to cause some havoc, having a deflected effort saved before showing neat footwork to almost tee up Burkart for a hat-trick, only for the Magpies to smuggle it clear. Greenwood had a low drive kept out by Harker but was not to be kept off the scoresheet. The teenager, who came on as a substitute for the first team in the win over West Ham United on Saturday, hammered a brilliant free-kick past Harker to add a fourth goal.
Substitute Dylan Levitt latched onto a pass by George Tanner to cross into the danger zone and Walters appeared to get the final touch as Greenwood closed in on his second, with it going down as an own goal. Newcastle showed their frustration in the closing stages as United continued looking the part right up until the final whistle.
United: Woolston; Olosunde, Ercolani, O'Connor, Tanner; Garner, Barlow (Levitt 50), Gomes (c); Chong (Bohui 59), Greenwood, Burkart (Baars 78).
Substitutes not used: Fojticek, Warren.
Scorers: Burkart 3,25 Chong 33, Greenwood 78, Walters og 84
United finish the Premier League 2 season with a game against Wolves at Leigh Sports Village on Friday 26 April, with free entry for all.