Brave Blades hold United
Sheffield United twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Man Utd in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final
Last Updated: 17/05/11 10:56pm
Sheffield United twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Man Utd in the first leg of the FA Youth Cup final at Bramall Lane.
The Red Devils - looking for a record 10th triumph in the competition - went ahead through a controversial Jesse Lingard goal before Callum McFadzean's spectacular equaliser.
Will Keane restored the away side's advantage in the 70th minute, but Jordan Slew levelled within moments to ensure it will be honours even going into next Monday's second leg at Old Trafford.
A crowd of 29,977 watched the game - the biggest attendance of the season at the stadium - with United senior team boss Sir Alex Ferguson amongst those observing from the stands.
Having created the first chance of the match which Corey Gregory headed narrowly over the crossbar, the hosts fell behind around the quarter-hour mark in bizarre circumstances.
Lingard beat goalkeeper George Long to get on the end of Paul Pogba's cross from the right and the ball looped towards goal.
It appeared as if a combination of the crossbar and Blades defender Harry Maguire had prevented it from crossing the line, but after consulting his assistant referee Michael Oliver ruled the effort should stand.
There was no doubting Maguire's interception in the 23rd minute when he got in a last-ditch block to deny Ravel Morrison, who had cut into the box and slipped the ball under Long.
Long then dived to push away a drive from Michael Keane before the visitors had to make a goal-line clearance of their own, Tom Thorpe nodding away Elliott Whitehouse's diving header.
The Yorkshire outfit had certainly not been overawed by their opponents and just prior to the interval they levelled the contest, McFadzean firing a fierce shot into the corner of the net from outside the area.
The lively Slew saw a shot tipped over the crossbar by Sam Johnstone 10 minutes after the restart and there was yet another clearance off the line as Whitehouse was again kept at bay.
The Red Devils responded with a shot from Morrison that Long did well to push away, but with 20 minutes remaining the goalkeeper could only parry a cross from Lingard, allowing Will Keane to slot in his sixth goal of the competition.
The lead lasted only two minutes before Slew drew things level again with a strike that deflected off Thorpe on its way in.
Long then got in good saves to block efforts from Morrison and Ryan Tunnicliffe as the Blades - making their first appearance in the final - hung on for the draw.