United collected a point from a difficult away assignment at Chelsea with Jack Rudge scoring the goal in a 1-1 draw.
The Reds led through the midfielder's strike but were pegged back by Jesse Starkey's free-kick and the late sending off of Ola Aina failed to tip the match in the visitors' favour.
In a physical affair, United were disciplined tactically and looked to hit the Blues on the break with Andreas Pereira working hard in an unfamiliar striking role due to James Wilson's absence through injury. Pereira tested Mitchell Beeney early on and John Swift had a goal ruled out for offside.
The deadlock was broken when Jack Barmby and Pereira played a one-two before the ball eventually rebounded to Rudge, who steered home a neat finish.
Pereira had a decent shout for a penalty when fouled right on the edge of the box but there was a similar incident at the other end in the lead-up to Starkey smashing his set-piece past Jonny Sutherland.
The keeper had earlier made a string of top-class saves but the controversy in terms of tight penalty calls continued late on when James Weir released Barmby, only for the forward to be up-ended by substitute Aina. It looked like a spot-kick was on the cards but, instead, the referee awarded a free-kick inches outside the box and dismissed Aina for the denying of a goalscoring opportunity.
United: Sutherland; Love, McNair, Grimshaw, Rowley; Weir, Rudge, Pearson, Rothwell; Barmby, A.Pereira (Harrop 82). Subs not used: Evans, J.Pereira, Ioannou, Fletcher.