Barclays Premier League Under-21s Division 1
Manchester United vs. Manchester City
Venue: Leigh Sports Village
Date: Thursday, 11 February 2016
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Manchester United continued their 100% home record at U21 level this season, beating rivals Manchester City 1-0 at Leigh Sports Village.
Joe Rothwell scored the only goal of the goal after a quarter of an hour, whilst leapfrogging Sunderland into top spot in the standings.
This win makes it 11 in a row and unbeaten in 14 at home, with a gritty second half display seeing United over the line.
Fresh from his five goals against Norwich City on Monday night, Will Keane raced through on goal only to see Angus Gunn smother the ball at his feet before the striker had a shot deflected wide from James Weir’s pass.
Instead of scoring, Keane turned provider, latching onto Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s long ball on the right-hand side, before cutting back to tee up the onrushing Rothwell, who tucked the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
Tosin Adarabioyo saw a powerful header pushed over the bar from a corner by Joel Pereira, as fellow centre-back Kean Bryan headed wide from a later free-kick.
A free-kick at the other end taken by Josh Harrop forced Gunn to parry the effort away from danger, as United entered half-time in front.
Number ten Harrop curled an attempt just wide in the opening exchanges of the second half, as an Aleix Garcia free-kick flew over after RoShaun Williams fouled Brandon Barker.
Substitute David Faupala saw a shot held as Garcia took aim once more, only for his strike to fall off target.
Bryan was booked for a foul on Weir before a neat passing move involving substitutes Marcus Rashford and Sadiq El Fitouri led to Fosu-Mensah playing in Keane, but his shot from an angle fell wide.
An ambitious attempt from Williams went over before Pereira saved well from Garcia in stoppage time, as full-time came about with United holding on.
It was a deserved lead at the break, and although they had to defend for much of the second half, Warren Joyce’s side did so admirably.
For the first time this season, United claim top spot, who still have a game in hand on Sunderland, whilst also opening up a ten point gap on third place and neighbours City after this victory.
Up next is Reading, with a third consecutive home game kicking-off at 8pm on Monday night at Leigh Sports Village.
Manchester United: J. Pereira; Love, Williams, Poole, Riley; Fosu-Mensah, Redmond; Rothwell, Harrop, Weir; Keane.
Subs: El Fitouri, Henderson, McTominay, Mitchell, Rashford.
Manager: Warren Joyce
Manchester City: Gunn; Smith-Brown (Kongolo 82), Adarabioyo, Bryan, Angelino; A. Garcia, Glendon, M.Garcia; Bytyqi, Celina (Faupala 60), Barker (Humphreys-Grant 60).
Subs: Humphreys-Grant, O’Brien, Horsfield, Kongolo, Faupala.
Manager: Simon Davies