A youthful Manchester United XI can be proud of a tremendous performance in holding Stevenage to a 2-2 draw in a first-ever visit to the Lamex Stadium.
Sam Byrne and Joe Rothwell scored in the first half to hand the Reds a healthy 2-0 lead at the interval but Darius Charles' double earned his side a deserved share of the spoils with Sam Johnstone needing to prove his class by making a string of top-class saves.
The hosts, who kick off the new season next week, began in lively fashion against Nicky Butt's young selection by dominating the opening stages. Keeper Johnstone was the busiest player on the field while Luke Jones should have converted a Greg Tansey corner.
Skipper Liam Grimshaw cleared an Oumare Tounkara effort off the line as the Reds' defence coped admirably with a stream of attacks from the League One outfit. Gradually, openings appeared at the other end with a good run by James Weir prompting a shot wide by James Wilson.
However, it took a fabulous save from Johnstone to keep the scoresheet blank as Luke Freeman unleashed a fierce drive on 29 minutes. Soon afterwards, United took the lead against the run of play when the home side failed to adequately clear a Jack Barmby free-kick. The ball ran to Byrne, who netted with a well-placed shot past Chris Day.
Butt's side extended the lead when Donald Love's cross from the right was hit first time by Rothwell to leave experienced keeper Day with no chance. As the half-time scoreline of 2-0 may have been a little flattering, a response was anticipated after the break and so it proved.
The 1,691 crowd witnessed a determined comeback and Stevenage quickly worked at addressing the arrears. Touncara had already gone close with a deflected attempt when Charles smashed an angled drive beyond Johnstone on 55 minutes.
The United keeper got the better of Tounkara to make a splendid one-handed stop but was powerless to prevent a blistering left-footed drive from Charles levelling the scores. Suddenly, the Reds were clinging to parity as Sam Wedgbury fired