Manchester United’s U18s continued their incredible 100 per cent league record this season by beating Liverpool 4-3 in a thriller on Tuesday night. But the entertaining affair left a sour taste on the tongue after Liverpool defender Luca Furnell-Gill punched and elbowed United forward Ethan Wheatley.
The visitors led after 10 minutes through Trent Kone-Doherty before the runaway U18 Premier League North leaders levelled through Wheatley.
Liverpool restored their lead against the run of play in first-half stoppage time as Kieran Morrison struck in off the post from 25 yards.
But United came out from half-time determined to win a 14th consecutive league game in a sensational campaign, and Jayce Fitzgerald equalised again within five minutes of the restart.
Ten minutes later, Ethan Williams fired the Red Devils ahead for the first time, and James Scanlon made it four with 15 minutes remaining.
Michael Laffey’s stoppage-time strike was only a consolation as Adam Lawrence’s exciting side extended their advantage at the league summit.
However, a memorable victory in the North-West grudge match was somewhat marred by the behaviour of Liverpool’s Furnell-Gill.
In the build-up to United’s second equaliser, Wheatley and the Reds’ No. 5 were involved in a battle for the ball before the latter threw a punch at his opponent’s face.
United staff were livid on the sideline, but Furnell-Gill unbelievably went unpunished. Fitzgerald ensured the hosts had the last laugh by putting the ball in the net shortly after.
However, the Liverpool youngster struck again later in the match. Wheatley, again, was the victim of another blow off the ball.
Later in the second half, cameras spotted Wheatley standing near Furnell-Gill as they continued their intense battle, only to be on the end of an elbow to the face.
It was unclear whether United staff noticed the second incident in real-time, but Wheatley reacted this time around, having been provoked further.
Furnell-Gill hasn’t come out of the clash looking good for his discipline and performance, given he gave the ball away for United’s fourth of the game.
The young Red Devils are now 17 points clear of Manchester City at the U18 Premier League North summit, winning all 14 games, scoring 46 goals and conceding just 10 times.
With United’s senior team unlikely to finish in the Premier League’s top four this season, the U18s will know they must win the league to qualify for the 2024/25 UEFA Youth League.