Harrop '37, '80, '87 - Brown '48, Shashoua '50
Man Utd U23 3-2 Tottenham U23: Reds climb to final position of 6th thanks to Harrop hat-trick

Man Utd U23 3-2 Tottenham U23: Reds climb to final position of 6th thanks to Harrop hat-trick

Nicky Butt's young Reds came from behind to win at Old Trafford with Man United manager José Mourinho watching on.

Harry Robinson

A hat-trick from Josh Harrop, including two goals in the final 12 minutes, gave Manchester United's under-23s a big final game victory at Old Trafford against Tottenham Hotspur.

A two-minute double from Spurs, goals from Jaden Brown and Samuel Shashoua, rocketed them into the lead, but young substitutes helped United regain their lead, but it was mainly individual brilliance from Man United U23 Player of the Year nominee Harrop.

Mourinho watches Man United youngsters at Old Trafford

Harrop's late spree in front of goal saw Nicky Butt's United side climb from eighth to sixth after a tough Premier League 2 campaign. Under Warren Joyce's management last season, United were crowned champions at White Hart Lane thanks to a late 3-2 win, but this season has been difficult, including a relegation scrap. Joyce left halfway through the season and had many problems to deal with in the first half of the season with no natural striker at this age group.

In recent months, a few under-18 players have been promoted and the side has looked much more balanced with more quality, too. Last week saw the Reds come from two goals behind to grab a 2-2 draw at the Emirates, with Harrop scoring the first and assist the second.

His eighth, ninth and 10th goals of the season were vital for United in ending the season on a high. For Spurs, defeat means they avoid relegation on goal difference and finish 10th.

All three of United and Harrop's goals came from the left flank. Good work from Matt Olosunde, who travelled with the first team to both Arsenal and Spurs recently, set up Harrop on the edge of the box. The 20-year-old gave himself a yard and curled it wonderfully past Brandon Austin.

Spurs score twice within three minutes after half-time

Spurs recognised the lack of pace in United's centre-back partnership of Regan Poole, who will now go with Wales' under-20s to the Toulon Tournament, and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson  after the break, and capitalised on it quickly. Defender Jaden Brown chested a cross from the right wing down and half-volleyed for the equaliser just three minutes after half-time. Two minutes later, Shashoua calmly placed a pull-back into the bottom right corner of Joel Pereira's goal.

The Portuguese goalkeeper, who captained United in the absence of Axel Tuanzebe, Scott McTominay and Demetri Mitchell, was called upon twice more very soon after. Shashoua could have had a second and Shilow Tracey almost extended their advantage but for the excellence of Pereira in one-on-one situations.

The introduction of three under-18 players for United in Ethan Hamilton, Zak Dearnley and DJ Buffonge, over a twenty minute period, gave United more energy and more desire going forward. As against Arsenal, the arrival of the younger players as substitutes positively affected the game, giving hope for next season. Just before Buffonge's arrival on the pitch, Harrop took on a Josh Bohui cross, sent two Spurs players sprawling with an excellent dummy before pulling it just past the fingertips of Austin.

Harrop scores 87th minute winner

Seven minutes later, he moved into double figures for the season with more fantastic footwork around the six-yard box. Buffonge combined with Bohui on that left flank, Harrop took Bohui's cross in his stride, continued past one Spurs player, then another, and rifled a powerful shot well past Austin high into the net.

United held on, thanks once more to the brilliance of Joel Pereira in goal, and finish the season in sixth.