United's U23s earned a hard-fought draw at Watford as Stephen Mallon's second half effort cancelled out an early strike from Michael Folivi for the hosts.
After some sustained early pressure from the hosts, Folivi fired home from close range before half-time substitute Mallon slotted home past Sam Howes after being played in on goal.
The Blades found themselves under the cosh early on with Dion Pereira in particular a threat in the middle of the park, Pereira himself having the first effort of note at Marcus Dewhurst.
Dewhurst was responsible for the keeping the score down during the first half an hour as he made a succession of good saves to keep the Blades in the match.
But he could only keep them out for so long when neat interplay from Ashley Charles and Pereira led to Folivi’s opener from close range.
United were restricted to nothing but half-chances during a frustrating first half. William Lengarnia fired well over from range while at the other end Kyron Gordon denied Folivi a second with a brilliant challenge.
Mallon’s introduction for Gordon at the break saw a change in United’s fortunes as the visitors grew more confident and started to have more of the game.
Simeon Oure had an effort saved before some good play from the Blades saw Mallon run through one-on-one and slot his effort past Howes in the Watford goal.
The hosts responded. Harry Hudson saw a header hit the bar from a corner and Harry Forster fire the rebound over from close range before Ryan Cassidy rolled an effort agonisingly wide of Dewhurst’s far post after being played in by Forster.
United almost nicked the three points themselves with a strong ending to the match, Jordan Hallam denied twice by Howes in goal. Firstly he was thwarted when in on goal by the Watford goalkeeper before the striker saw his long-range effort pushed over the bar in the final minutes of the game.
Dewhurst saved his best heroics for last as he denied Folivi the winner with the final action of the game, somehow poking the ball away from the striker as he tried to round the goalkeeper and slot into an empty net.
Blades: Dewhurst, Gordon (Mallon 46), Ferguson, Doherty, Cantrill, York, Sheppeard, Oure, Lengarnia (Broadbent 76), Hallam, Boyles.
Unused: Kelly, Williams, Brunt