So things became rather frustrating until a long throw-in almost allowed Andy Musungu to regain the lead but he stabbed off target with Johnstone advancing. Eve was out swiftly at the other end to thwart Marnick Vermijl as he tried to reach Tunnicliffe's intelligent reverse pass but the Reds rarely hit top form.
Lone striker Federico Macheda struggled to spring the offside trap all night and, when he did break clear, the leading scorer tumbled after a shove by Ben Heneghan with Kimura opting not to point to the spot. Finally building some pressure, Powell screwed another long-range attempt wide and Adnan Januzaj was close with an instinctive effort after a Larnell Cole shot rebounded back to him.
Although City substitute Jordan Richardson hammered a drive wide, United continued to press but the classy Powell could not divert his header on goal after rising well to meet a Januzaj corner. The closing stages were rather scrappy and there could be few complaints about the stalemate.
United: Johnstone; Vermijl, Wootton, Fornasier, McGinty; Cole, Thorpe, Tunnicliffe, Powell, Januzaj; Macheda. Subs not used: Veseli, Sutherland, Lawrence, James, Ekangamene.