MANCHESTER United reserves beat their Blackburn Rovers counterparts 1-0 this evening, in front of more than 2000 at Leigh.

Defender Michael Keane scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half, as Rovers fought hard against their superior visitors.

Manchester United's experienced second string side bossed the opening exchanges with midfield Paul Pogba particularly impressive.

Pogba's future at Old Trafford has been the subject of much speculation, as negotiations continue over a new deal, and he showed the crowd at Leigh why United are so keen to keep him at the club.

The French 18-year-old saw a fierce 20-yard shot parried away by Rovers goalkeeper Jake Kean, before having a shot cleared off the line by Adam Henley on 15 minutes.

Rovers' youngsters gave as good as they got for most of the half but were struggling to break down United's rearguard.

Davide Petrucci saw a goal bound shot deflected over the bar on 40 minutes as the half finished goalless.

United should have taken the lead on 55 minutes but, after some trickery from Petrucci on the right wing, an unmarked Fabio Da Silva headed wide from yards out.

The visitors finally did break the deadlock 10 minutes later as, after Pogba's 25-yard free kick was blocked, Will Keane was on hand to fire the loose ball towards goal and into the net, via a slight deflection off an offside Michael Keane.

Defensively, Rovers were solid throughout with Ryan Edwards and Anthony O'Connor impressing.

ROVERS: Jake Kean, Adam Henley, Myles Anderson, Robbie Cotton (Raheem Hanley 72), Ryan Edwards (Jack O'Connell 61), Anthony O'Connor, Nick Blackman (Curtis Haley 72, Hugo Fernandez, Osayamen Osawe, Josh Morris, Zac Aley

SUBS; Jamie Maclaren, Sebastian Usai

MANCHESTER UNITED: Sam Johnstone, Marnick Vermijl, Michael Keane, Michele Fornasier, Ezekiel Fryers, Fabio Da Silva ( Matthew James 65), Paul Pogba, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Davide Petrucci, Jesse Lingard (Frederic Veseli 87), Will Keane

SUBS: Tom Thorpe, Joe Coll, Albert Massacci