MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 11:56:57

Result: Under-23s Manchester derby clash ends all square

Result: U23s Manchester derby ends all square
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Manchester United Under-23s' faint hopes of avoiding relegation remain alive following a 1-1 draw at Manchester City.

Manchester United Under-23s have kept their faint hopes of avoiding relegation to the second division of Premier League 2 alive with a 1-1 draw away to their Manchester City counterparts.

The Red Devils reserves headed into the match inside the dropzone by three points and now need Derby County Under-23s to lose their game in hand to give them a fighting chance of beating the drop in their final-day clash against Everton.

City, who included Benjamin Mendy in their starting XI as he stepped up his return from injury, took the lead with just four minutes on the clock when Luke Bolton raced down the wing and floated a cross into the penalty area for Lorenzo Gonzalez to guide over the line from close range.

United U23s were barely in the game in the opening stages, and on the rare occasions when they did venture into the opposition's half, the Sky Blues closed them down quickly.

The hosts had the chance to double their lead with the half-hour mark approaching when defensive prospect Ed Francis powered forward and let fly, his effort sailing over the crossbar.

Moments later, the Red Devils strung an attack together as Ethan Hamilton popped up in the City box, but the midfielder lashed his shot on the wrong side of the upright.

United goalkeeper Kieran O'Hara pulled off the save of the half just before the interval when he was forced to act quickly to turn Dele Bashiru's dipping effort over the bar, and it would prove a pivotal moment in the game.

Going two down so close to half time would potentially have killed the Red Devils off, but they equalised on the stroke of half time when Indy Boonen headed Callum Gribbin's free kick into the back of the net.

United were much improved in the second period and they almost edged their noses in front for the first time on the night less than 10 minutes into it as Tahith Chong forced a good save out of City stopper Daniel Grimshaw.

The Red Devils came close again moments later when Boonen went clean through on goal, only for Grimshaw to come racing off his line and smother the ball before the Belgian could square it to a teammate.

A moment of magic from Chong almost won it for United at the death as he deftly flicked the ball into a crowded penalty area and watched it deflect over the bar by mere inches.

Chong's chance proved to be the last meaningful goalscoring opportunity at either end of the park as both sides cancelled each other out through four minutes of stoppage time.

United U23s will only avoid relegation if they win their final game at home to Everton, coupled with Derby and Sunderland losing both of their two remaining matches.

MANCHESTER UNITED U23s (4-5-1): O'Hara; Riley, R. Williams, Borthwick-Jackson, O'Connor; Redmond, Hamilton, Chong, Gribbin, Boonen; Dearnley (Kehinde 84')

MANCHESTER CITY U23s (4-4-2): Grimshaw; Duhaney, Latibeaudiere, Francis, Mendy (Wilson 46'); Pozo, Dele-Bashiru, Wood (Poveda 46'), Gonzalez (Matondo 70'); Smith, Bolton

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Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal leaves the pitch at half-time during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, north west England, on November 7, 20
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