United's youngsters were edged out in a seven-goal thriller against Sheffield Wednesday at Middlewood Road on Saturday.
The Blades quickly seized control of the game scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes through Jahmal Smith and Diego De Girolamo. The hosts restored parity courtesy of strikes from Simon Hannah and Elias Moses, only for Ottis Khan to put the Blades back in the ascendancy with 18 minutes remaining. Nick Hague then made it 3-3, before Charlie Dawes struck a late winner to break the hearts of the visitors.
United deservedly opened the scoring as early as the 10th minute, from Payling's throw De Girolamo beat two defenders before slotting the ball through to SMITH, who confidently fired the ball under the onrushing Wednesday goalkeeper.
Five minutes later United's dominance led to doubling the advantage, Pemberton won the ball in midfield and after running at the home side's backline, Khan found the perfect pass to leave DE GIROLAMO one-v-one with his marker. The striker prospered before smashing home from the edge of the penalty area.
As the visitors looked for a third, McDonagh, Khan and De Girolamo all went close as the first-half drew to a conclusion.
Wednesday made two changes and reaped instant rewards as substitute HANNAH halved the deficit and ten minutes later a long-range effort from MOSES beat Willis to draw the hosts level.
Willis then produced a string of excellent saves, before the Blades retook the lead through KHAN, who, from a De Girolamo lay-off, beat two defenders with a drop of a shoulder before finishing coolly.
In the 82nd minute the Owls drew level for a second time, HAGUE getting the last touch after a desperate goalmouth scramble that had earlier seen both Josh Williams and Salt clear off the line.
With a draw appearing the most likely result, Wednesday nicked a winner three minutes later. After capitilising on a long ball forward, DAWES was left in the clear to place the ball under the advancing Willis to harshly steal the game from under the noses of the Blades.
Commenting on the game, United coach Jamie Hoyland said: "Ultimately we are disappointed to have lost the game having led 2-0 and 3-2.
"The first-half was the best we have played since I arrived and quite honestly we should have been out of sight and the game should have been put to bed.
"After the break, Wednesday changed things around and matched us up, credit to them but we should have done a lot better defensively."
Blades: Willis, Payling, T. Williams, Khan, Salt, J. Williams, McDonagh (Dimaio 59), Pemberton, Smith, De Girolamo, Heather.
Unused: Owen, Scarisbrick, Whiteman, Eyre.