However, the Belgium youth international did not have to wait long to get his name on the scoresheet, flighting a fine free-kick wide of the diving Lowton with 51 minutes gone. Lowton denied Pearson his hat-trick and stretched to get his fingertips to a Barmby chip.
Substitutes James Wilson and Paddy McNair soon combined with the fit-again striker's lay-off swept into the corner of the net by the Northern Irishman for number six. But Loughborough, showing plenty of fitness and spirit, pulled one back when Daniel Nti was left unmarked to head a free-kick from the left past Joel Pereira.
Wilson flashed a drive off target following an eye-catching overlap by Donald Love but the students continued to enjoy a spell of their own pressure, much to the delight of the appreciative crowd, with skipper Liam Grimshaw blocking a goalbound effort by Michael Emmerson. Louis Rowley hit the side-netting from a difficult angle and Barmby went close to a deserved goal late on but there was no further addition to the visitors' scoring with Sam Cook instead heading in from a corner in stoppage time to further reduce the deficit at the death.
United: Gollini (J.Pereira 46); Love, Grimshaw, McGinty, James; Weir (Rowley 61), Pearson (McNair 61), Hendrie, A.Pereira, Daehli (Wilson 61); Barmby. Subs not used: Rudge.