Wes Brown could be in contention for a first team return after completing 45 minutes for United's Reserves on Thursday evening, but the England international's presence couldn't inspire a victory over Newcastle.
Brown looked comfortable as he lined up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side for the second time this week, and left the fray unscathed at half-time as the two sides contested a hard-fought draw.
Skipper Corry Evans neatly put his side in the lead after nine minutes but, like his colleagues, could only watch on helplessly as Frank Wiafe Danquah thundered home a stunning equaliser for the Magpies 10 minutes later.
Fabio saw his penalty saved with just over 10 minutes remaining as United missed the chance to secure second spot in the Barclays Premier Reserve League (north), but there was enough quality on show to why these two sides are both likely to finish the season in the top three positions.
It was United who were faster out of the blocks. Evans, playing in his more accustomed midfield role, had already seen one drilled effort saved by Magpies goalkeeper Tim Krul before he put United ahead inside 10 minutes.
Lee Martin picked up a header from Matty James, brought the ball under control and advanced on goal, before slipping through a pass which required a neat, simple left-footed finish in-between Krul's legs.
The Reds continued to call the tune, but the visitors' forward line - and the imposing Nile Ranger in particular - were proving a handful, although it took a bolt from the blue to bring Newcastle level. A long punt forward was brought down and laid off by Ranger and Danquah struck a stunning 25-yard effort past the helpless Tomasz Kuszczak.
The absence of a striker by-trade in the United ranks became more apparent as