United's Under-21s were frustrated by 10-man Wolves in freezing conditions at Moss Lane despite Chris Smalling and Anderson getting a full run-out.
First-team managers Sir Alex Ferguson and Dean Saunders were in attendance but there was precious little goalmouth excitement, thanks largely to some resilient defending by the Black Country outfit.
The visitors began brightly, particularly Zeli Ismail, who fired a shot over the bar and displayed exceptional pace on a couple of occasions. However, the winger's main contribution to the game was an awful two-footed lunge on Smalling that forced referee Matthew Parry to take swift action by producing a red card. Mercifully, Smalling was able to continue after treatment.
With 80 minutes still to play, Wolves naturally set out their stall to defend but Sam Johnstone was still the busier of the two goalkeepers for a spell. It took 25 minutes for the Reds to muster a chance but Nick Powell shot wide from Alexander Büttner's driven cross before Liam McAlinden's volley forced Johnstone to push the ball wide.
The treacherous surface led to a number of players losing their footing and United struggled to break down the massed ranks of all gold. Büttner was flagged offside when hammering well off target in any case from an Anderson pass and Larnell Cole choked a volley following an Adnan Januzaj corner.
In first-half stoppage time, Anderson wasted a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock when failing to provide the finish that a lovely move, culminating in Powell's brilliant flick to Jesse Lingard's pass, thoroughly deserved. The pattern of play remained the same after the interval with Wolves holding out pretty comfortably, even though Lingard did hammer one opening wide and Cole smashed an attempt out of the ground.
Lingard had a shot blocked but Smalling got a vital touch to distract McAlinden at the other end as the 10 men looked for a goal completely against the run of play with the game entering the final 15 minutes.
The chance to take the points came with six minutes remaining as Lingard and substitute Tom Lawrence opened up the defence but Cole shot wastefully wide when a winner seemed