Having been forced to show defensive resilience for much of the closing stages of the first period, the Reds began the second half with more of the ball, just as they had done in the game’s opening stages. That possession translated into chances for Iqbal, who curled over, and then Isak Hansen, who saw his low, drilled effort take a deflection on its way through to being gathered by Hull keeper Nathan Baxter.
The hosts had also had a sighter or two in search of the game’s first goal, with George Moncur going closest but ultimately placing his effort off target. The Tigers utilised their experience shortly before the hour however, to not only break the deadlock, but develop a quickfire two-goal lead.
First, former Tottenham Hotspur and England midfielder Huddlestone found the bottom corner with a left-footed strike from a central area on the edge of the penalty area on 58 minutes, before Eaves met a cross from the right at the near post to power home the Tigers’ second goal in the space of less than three minutes.
As overcast skies turned to Yorkshire showers for most of the game’s final half-hour, the young Reds attempted to rally and find a way back into the contest. Iqbal, who had found the target in midweek, again tried his luck, but could only sting the palms of Baxter in doing so.
It was United’s final opportunity of the encounter, as Mee was red-carded for pulling down Eaves with minutes left. The home side saw out the remaining minutes to come out on top but this was another productive exercise for the youngsters in the Reds’ side.
Next up for the Under-23s is a final warm-up match against Kidderminster Harriers on Friday (6 August) before the Premier League 2 campaign begins just over a week later with Leicester City visiting Leigh Sports Village.