- Joe Hull
Newcastle United under-23s suffered a 2-1 defeat against their Manchester United counterparts in Premier League 2 at Leigh Sports Village on Friday night.
Newcastle fell behind by two goals in eight first-half minutes following Jude Swailes' unfortunate own goal and James Garner's fine strike.
Substitute Elliot Anderson set up a tense finale after halving the deficit for the visitors in the dying stages but it was the hosts who held on for maximum points.
The young Magpies had headed into the division two clash in a confident mood following an impressive 3-0 win against Fulham at United's Little Benton Academy.
Lewis Cass and Elias Sørensen, who were both named on United's first team bench for their Emirates FA Cup draw at Rochdale, returned to the second-string's starting line-up along with defender Ludwig Francillette who also travelled with the squad to Spotland.
The Red Devils, though, fielded an experienced side with Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, capped by the Netherlands, both continued their respective recoveries from injury.
Newcastle goalkeeper Jake Turner was called upon in the early stages of the division two clash to deny Aliou Traore. After Francillette was dispossessed, Traore raced through on goal but his low strike was blocked by Turner, who stood strong to keep United on level terms.
However, in the 15th minute, Man United took the lead in kind circumstances. After a number of ricochets inside the penalty area, the ball fell to Teden Mengi on the edge of the penalty area.
Despite the 17-year-old left back striking the ball well wide of the target, an awful deflection off Swailes caught out Turner and the ball rolled into the back of the net.
Newcastle full further behind in the 23rd minute as Garner doubled Man United's advantage. Hannibal Mejbri found the Man United skipper on the edge of the box and the midfielder, who had played in the Europa League in October, found the back of the net with a first time effort which flew in via the post.
Newcastle's youngsters were lucky not to concede a third before the half-time break as Arnau Puigmal saw his low drive clip the far post before the ball was eventually cleared to safety.
Sørensen, who returned from a loan spell at Carlisle United in December, went close for the Magpies after rounding Man United 'keeper Jacob Carney and firing a strike on target but Di'Shon Bernard prevented the Dane from netting his first goal in black and white colours this term after blocking the effort out for a corner.
Newcastle's best opportunity of the first half fell to Francillette in the final minute of the half as the 20-year-old centre-back crashed a header off the crossbar following Rosaire Longelo's teasing corner.
Man United nearly began in bright fashion after the restart as Fosu-Mensah went close to completing an impressive run from the halfway line but the Dutchman was denied by Turner, who tipped the midfielder's powerful strike over the bar.
Sørensen almost capitalised on an passing error from Carney following a goal kick but the Danish under-21 international's strike at goal was blocked by the Man United goalkeeper's leg before the ball landing on the netting.
After a spirited second half display from the visitors, Newcastle were rewarded when Anderson netted in the 89th minute. The substitute picked the ball up inside the penalty area before unleashing a terrific low strike which flew into the far corner, scoring his fourth goal of the campaign in the process.
However, the Magpies unable to find an equaliser in stoppage time as the Red Devils held on for the win at Leigh Sports Village.
Newcastle United Under-23s: Jake Turner, Ryan Barrett, Lewis Cass, Jude Swailes, Ludwig Francillette (Adam Wilson 54), Oliver Walters, Victor Fernández, Jack Young, Rosaire Longelo (Elliot Anderson 62), Elias Sørensen, Yannick Touré (Lucas De Bolle 81).
Subs not used: Lucas Gamblin, Will Brown.