Ravel Morrison settled a dour encounter with Bolton in the Manchester Senior Cup with a jet-propelled strike in the 94th minute.
The second-half substitute worked the ball onto his left foot and detonated an explosive, unstoppable drive past Rob Lainton with virtually the last kick of the game to provide another glimpse of his undoubted talent.
It prevented a disappointing affair going to penalties as a poor pitch, which cut up horribly, led to both sides starting to hit aimless passes forward and most of the players struggled to keep their feet when changing direction throughout.
Paul Pogba had one of the best attempts of the early exchanges, forcing a smart flip over the top from Lainton following a Mame Biram Diouf lay-off. Bolton responded with Oluwasanmi Odelusi unable to convert following fine wing-play by Michael O'Halloran but the visitors started to exert some pressure before the interval.
Reece Brown sliced well off target after a bold run, Marnick Vermijl drilled across goal and Diouf placed a left-footed shot wide following good work by Federico Macheda and Will Keane. An injury to Ezekiel Fryers, who appeared to hurt his neck when landing awkwardly after an aerial challenge with Jack Sampson, upset the Reds but his replacement Sean McGinty did well to scoop away when danger-man Tope Obadeyi threatened.
The second half degenerated into a scrappy affair, which was understandable given the testing conditions, with Osalusi and Michael Keane producing the only attempts of note until Macheda's run and cross forced a saving touch behind by Graeme MacGregor after 67 minutes.
Wanderers looked to go more direct and Sampson looped a clever header wide from Joe Riley's long ball while Warren Joyce went down another route, introducing Morrison in a free role in a bid to break the deadlock. Sampson lashed a volley over the top with the clock ticking down and United's frustration grew with Pogba booked for a wild tackle before blasting a desperate drive high into the stands.