Latest Football News From Manchester: Hannibal Mejbri and Manchester United youngsters learn vital lesson vs Lincoln

Anthony Scully did most of the damage with all three goals at the LNER Stadium and United were, ultimately, gunned down against their League One hosts.

United had something to celebrate late on though, when Charlie McNeill and Bjorn Hardley struck consolations amid a frantic finale, which also saw Hannibal Mejbri shown a red card for two bookable offences.

Despite the result, there is every chance Neil Wood and his young charges might still progress; Bradford City and holders Sunderland are the other two teams in Group F of the northern section this campaign.

With a number of United academy players out on loan this season including Will Fish (Stockport County), Ethan Galbraith (Doncaster Rovers) and Ethan Laird (Swansea City) this Tuesday night clash presented others with an opportunity to mix it in a competitive senior environment.

Indeed, the highly-rated Mejbri and Shola Shoretire were among those to start, while D'Mani Mellor was afforded the honour of leading United out as captain as he continued his comeback from injury.

A lively start to the game saw Ted Bishop go close from 15 yards after Alvaro Fernandez had slipped in possession.

It wasn't the only time United gave it away casually during those opening exchanges, either, but the young guns did settle down to enjoy an extended spell of possession.

However, that wasn't before Dermot Mee was called into action, for the first time, to deny Lewis Fiorini.

Mee recovered a hairy situation of his own as the clock ticked past 20 minutes, though Lincoln did edge ahead soon after when Scully prodded home from close-range.

An incisive breakaway finished off, once again, by Scully saw the Imps double their advantage and take command before the half-time whistle sounded.

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Down but not out, United emerged from the break and in much the same pattern, saw enough of the ball without being able to make a mark on their League One opponents.

A couple of half-chances came and went, but it was soon game, set and match to the Imps as the dangerous Scully arrived late to glance his third into the bottom corner.

Having worked hard for the most part, the U21s were rewarded for their efforts when McNeill struck a fine response beneath Sam Long and into the net.