City’s second string got the better of their neighbours in a fast paced mini-derby settled by a goal worthy of a much greater stage.
The more fluent Blues broke the deadlock in the 20th minute courtesy of a superbly weighted cross from close to the half way line by Greg Cunningham that allowed Alex Nimely to ghost behind the Reds’ defence and deftly volley beyond the keeper.
The young striker made a difficult chance look easy displaying excellent control to arc the ball over a transfixed Ron-Robert Zieler.
Earlier Nimely had sent a flashing header fizzing the wrong side of the upright as the Blues created much the better openings.
Donal McDermott, back from his loan spell at Chesterfield, went close to doubling the advantage when he warmed the keeper’s hands with a fine low effort that skidded off the sodden surface.
United huffed and puffed, at one stage winning a string of corners, but didn’t really test Gunnar Nielsen before the break on what was a foul night for goalkeepers.
The Reds didn’t threaten much after the break either and the Blues cause was certainly helped a dozen minutes into the second half when second half substitute Scott Wootton had his night ended abruptly - and before it had properly started - by a straight red card for a nasty tackle.
Conversely Cunningham’s evening got better midway through the second half when he cleared off the line from Febian Brandy whose low shot had sped beyond Nielsen and threatened an unlikely equaliser.
City replaced both Nimely and McDermott in the second half giving a run out to John Guidetti and Abdisalam Ibrahim. Guidetti almost became an instant hero but saw his shot from the edge of the box clear the bar.
Zieler then kept the score down saving low down from Marshall.
CITY: Nielsen, Trippier, Cunningham, Boyata, Mee, Tutte (Kay), Marshall, Mak, Poole, Nimely (Guidetti), McDermott (Ibrahim). Not used: Johansen and Moore.