United's youngsters had to settle for a share of the spoils after a late equaliser by Kristian Dennis earned Curzon Ashton a 1-1 draw at the Tamside Stadium.
Connor Hampson and Gladstony both needed treatment during a stop-start opening but the Reds soon gained the upper hand. Josh Ollerenshaw could only push a Tom Lawrence drive into the path of Jack Barmby, who pounced to ram in the rebound.
Jonny Sutherland, celebrating his England Under-19 call-up, was the busier of the two keepers for a spell as he kept out two efforts by Samuel Walker and one by Lee Blackshaw. However, Warren Joyce's side regained control with Reece James firing over the top and Gyliano van Velzen pulling his finish wide after a neat one-two with Gladstony.
Lawrence could not keep a curling shot down from a van Velzen pass but the Reds became more accurate in terms of shooting as half-time approached. Ollerenshaw needed to make smart stops to thwart van Velzen, Gladstony and captain Luke Giverin to keep his side in the game with Lawrence scooping the rebound wide from the final effort of the opening 45 minutes.
Gladstony came out for the second half looking determined to find the net as he cracked a raking drive wide of Ollerenshaw's right-hand post and then forced the keeper to gather a speculative dig at the second attempt. Some neat skill by Barmby took him past Stuart Cook but Adnan Januzaj, so impressive at Aberdeen recently, drilled a low finish off target from the scorer's lay-off.
Curzon Ashton rallied and came close to equalising during a sustained spell of pressure midway through the half. Bradley Robinson lashed over and Sutherland had to be alert to frustrate Scott Metcalfe and Walker as the home fans sensed a breakthrough.
United regained the passing rhythm but were unable to add to the scoreline, despite Barmby being reintroduced after going off for Luke Hendrie. Januzaj set up a couple of openings with some probing