City's Under-18s were held 1-1 by a stubborn Crewe Alexandra at Platt Lane, a result that hardly matched a bright Blues performance that delighted Andy Welsh.
Academy manager Welsh took the opportunity to draft in four first-year youngsters for some vital experience following the emphatic 6-2 thumping of Liverpool the week before.
But City had enough chances to make sure of victory both before and after Crewe pounced on a rare chance from a defensive error to haul themselves level on the hour then hang on to draw.
Blustery winds did little to help the flow of the game, but City went ahead after 15 minutes with a smart near-post finish by Omar Elabdellaoui after good work from Tom Smith and John Guidetti.
Crewe's goal led a charmed life thereafter as City pounded the visitors and hit the bar three times, with both Harry Bunn and debutant Nils Zander seeing no reward for good strikes.
Guidetti and Bunn were both denied by the goalkeeper to leave the interval score a slender 1-0, then after their equaliser Crewe put up the shutters to frustrate City's front three.
City: E Johansen; Smith, Wabara, Vesili, Zander; Elabdellaoui, Mitchell, Olle; Bunn, Guidetti, Helan.
The Under-16s beat their Crewe counterparts 2-0 on the adjoining pitch.