United's Under 18s paid the price for not putting Huddersfield Town to the sword on Saturday as the Yorkshire side came back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3.
Paul McGuinness' team dominated the play for large periods and scored through Luke Hendrie, Tyler Blackett and James Wilson. The Reds were ultimately undone by two direct free-kicks - both despatched by Huddersfield midfielder Jordan Sinnott - and an own goal when Italian goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini miscontrolled an injury-time backpass.
A more positive outcome looked likely when Hendrie poked home from a goalmouth scramble in the 23rd minute. But although the Huddersfield keeper was kept busy, the score somehow remained 1-0 at the interval and beyond. Only when the game entered its final quarter did the goals came thick and fast. Sinnott's first free-kick goal levelled the scores on 71 minutes, only for Blackett to immediately put the Reds back in front with a set-piece rocket of his own, fired low into the bottom corner.
A short corner kick led to United's third strike with substitute Mats Daehli driving into the area and setting up Wilson for a close-range finish. Leading 3-1 with seven minutes to go, the Reds were deservedly on course for a first league away win since November. But then Huddersfield hit back through Sinnott again from a deadball situation and Gollini's error. It was a cruel ending for McGuinness' boys, who had otherwise responded well to last week's semi-final exit from the FA Youth Cup at Chelsea.
United: Gollini; Grimshaw, Blackett, McCullough, Ekangamene; Pearson (Daehli, 44), Rudge (Van Velzen, 73), Hendrie; Rothwell (Gorre, 58), Byrne, Wilson. Subs not used: Jacob, Wilkinson.