United U23s force draw against Swindon
Manchester United's Under-23s battled to a pre-season draw against Swindon Town on a hot, sticky evening at the County Ground.
Dylan Levitt's confident 85th-minute penalty cancelled out a first-half deficit for Neil Wood's Reds, who are stepping up preparations for the upcoming Premier League 2 campaign.
Under the stifling Wiltshire sun, United had to weather an early onslaught from Richie Wellens' side, clearing two early corners, before a Swindon trialist rifled a shot into the net after 10 minutes.
Following the early breakthrough, the hosts from League Two pursued a second goal, earning a succession of corners, but failing to find a way through.
And as the opening 45 minutes progressed, Wood’s youngsters regained their composure and had opportunities to draw level before the interval.
Largie Ramazani fired a free-kick over the crossbar, while Dylan Levitt was denied after a great interception on the edge of the area. On the stroke of half-time, Ethan Hamilton had an effort blocked after a decent run forward.
After a fairly even first half, United would go on to dominate the second
Brandon Williams raced out of the traps with a great pass and run, but 19-year-old Aidan Barlow couldn’t control his close-range shot and turned it wide.
The Reds continued to knock on the Robins' door but couldn't open it as Mellor and Levitt both scuppered half-chances.
Swindon remained a threat on the counterattack, with Woolston producing a stunning acrobatic save to keep United in the game.
And just as it looked like it wasn't going to be our evening, United drew level from the penalty spot with five minutes of regular time to spare. Laird was fouled on the byline and Levitt would make no mistake, coolly placing his spot-kick down the middle of the goal.
Laird asserted his dominance as the match entered its closing stages, winning a corner that the Reds couldn't convert, before making an attacking run that was halted before the youngster could get his shot away.
In the dying embers of the match, the 17-year-old showcased his defensive capabilities, producing a last-ditch tackle to ensure the pre-season friendly finished as a draw.
United: Woolston (c); Laird, Mengi, Bernard, Tanner; Levitt; Barlow, Puigmal, Hamilton, Ramazani; Mellor.
Substitutes: McGhee, Carney, Fojticek, Traore, Williams, Galbraith, Elanga.
Scorer: Levitt pen. 85.