Anders Lindegaard made his first appearance since January and kept a clean sheet before saving twice in the penalty shoot-out victory over Blackpool in the Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final.
Warren Joyce fielded a mix of players who have been out on loan and Academy youngsters in front of the Dane and a goalless draw was played out before the drama of spot-kicks with Lindegaard saving Jamie Menagh's shot in sudden death.
The Seasiders were the better side in the opening exchanges with Gerardo Bruna seeing a shot deflect wide inside the first minute. Roman Bednar spurned a glorious chance after a defensive lapse by blazing over and Craig Sutherland took aim to fire another deflected attempt off target.
Lindegaard, who has been sidelined with an ankle injury, threw himself to his right to pull off a top-class save to frustrate Louis Almond but the visitors were soon threatening again with Sutherland guilty of a bad miss with a free header.
It took United 33 minutes to register a first real attempt on goal, skipper Robbie Brady firing over the top following persistent work by former Hull loanee Joshua King,while Stephen Husband had the final noteworthy shot of the half, Lindegaard dealing with the ball as it skidded off the turf.
Joyce switched Brady to join King in attack at the start of the second half and it almost reaped dividends within four minutes. King forced a superb save out of Mark Halstead after being fed by Charni Ekangamene with the ball then bouncing off the frame of the goal.
John Murphy's team responded with an Almond snap-shot that was well fielded by Lindegaard but the Reds looked handier up front with Jack Rudge playing King through and, although the flag stayed down, the Norwegian could only fire against Halstead's legs as the stalemate continued.
John Fleck and Almond blasted efforts wide of Lindegaard's goal while United responded with a Brady scooped shot that was easily handled by Halstead and another wayward drive from the Irishman when Rudge was in the clear to his left.
Lindegaard denied Almond in stoppage time so the tie went to a penalty shoot-out and the Scandinavian shot-stopper kept