United's U18s were cruelly denied a deserved win, as Nottingham Forest scored two late goals to earn a share of the spoils at Shirecliffe.
Injuries severely hampered the Blades progress with all three substitutions being forced because of knocks, including the first half withdrawal of goalkeeper George Willis.
The Blades exerted their control of the game from the off and deservedly took the lead in the 20th minute when debutant REED fired home on the half volley after some excellent close control.
The hosts were unable to hold on to the lead until the break though, as Forest restored parity from the penalty spot.
After a keenly contested opening to the second period, United looked to have put the game to bed with two goals in five minutes.
Firstly, with less then 20 minutes left on the clock, SMITH calmly finished after being freed by Whiteman. Then moments later Smith released Hodder, his shot was saved but McDONAGH was on hand to tap home the rebound.
In the 81st minute the visitors were handed a lifeline when Salt unfortunately headed past Owen into his own net.
As injury time approached all United's good work was undone as sloppy defending saw Forest forced home an equaliser from close range.
Commenting on the six-goal thriller, Coach Jamie Hoyland said: "We were excellent for 80 minutes against what is as always a very good Forest side.
"There were several outstanding performances, but ultimately our defending has let us down badly in the closing stages.
"Despite that being an obvious negative, we have to build on the positives, the most notably one being the debut of young Lewis Reed, who was excellent before being forced off through injury."
Blades: Willis (Owen 30), Scarisbrick, J. Williams (T. Williams 77), Dimaio, Salt, Pemberton, Reed (Hodder 64), Whiteman, Smith, Khan, McDonagh.
Unused: Eyre, Coustrain.
* Our U18 game at Crewe, which was postponed on 26th January, will now be played on Friday 22nd March kick off 12 noon.