Ellen White's 25th goal for the Club ten minutes from time salvaged a precious point for Gareth Taylor's side, after second-half goals from Lucy Staniforth and Alessia Russo had cancelled out Khadija Shaw's opener in a pulsating clash, which also saw Georgia Stanway sent off for a lunge on Leah Galton.
The draw - a repeat of our league visit to United last season - ends City's three match losing streak in the league.
The opening exchanges yielded all of the makings of a Derby classic - a fast-paced start, fiery atmosphere and of course, feisty tackles.
Much of City's most threatening play arrived down the left-flank - the trio of Lauren Hemp, Caroline Weir and Demi Stokes combining to great effect to carve out the game's first chance, as Hemp whipped a delightful delivery into Janine Beckie's path, forcing Mary Earps into a smart stop at her near post.
Three minutes later, Hemp herself almost broke the deadlock, heading towards the far post - only for Maria Thorisdottir to head clear with Earps beaten.
With City dominating possession, United were restricted to rare ventures forward. Deputising centre-back Jill Scott snuffed out a potential counter-attack, while Kirsty Hanson's ambitious effort from range did little to trouble Karima Benameur Taieb.
Two minutes later, the game looked to swing in United's favour when Stanway was given her marching orders with a high tackle on Galton.
It would be City who drew first blood though, rallying and embarking on another left-sided attack, which saw Stokes curl an inch-perfect delivery for Shaw to convert.
It was almost two before the break - Hemp again causing problems with a delivery to a sliding Filippa Angeldahl, but the Swede could not quite stretch to slot home at the back post.
Despite the player disadvantage, City pressed to extend our lead in the second period - no doubt smarting from our previous league visit, in which we were punished for not capitalising upon our dominance.
Hemp stung the palms of Earps - as did Ella Toone at the other end - before some lax City defending allowed United back into the contest.
Seizing an opportunity, Hannah Blundell and Toone took a corner quickly, crossing for Staniforth to clip in at the near post.
Three minutes later, the game was turned on its head when Russo was allowed too much space on the edge of the area to work an effort, which crept into the far corner.
In response, Taylor threw on youngster Jess Park and the teenager made an instant impact, thundering an effort off the crossbar and Ballon d'Or nominee White was on hand to sweep home the rebound.
Galton almost grabbed a late winner for the hosts, heading wide as the spoils were shared.
How we lined up...
Keira Walsh protected the back four in her defensive midfield role, employed behind Caroline Weir and Filippa Angeldahl, who were flanked by Lauren Hemp and Janine Beckie. Khadija Shaw led the line upfront.
CITY XI | Taieb, Stanway, Scott, Greenwood (C), Stokes, Walsh, Angeldahl (Park 77'), Weir (Coombs 88'), Beckie, Hemp, Shaw (White 59').
SUBS | Keating, Kennedy, Mace.
UTD XI | Earps, Thorisdottir, Mannion, Blundell, Toone, Zelem (C), Galton, Groenen (Ladd 85'), Batlle, Hanson (Staniforth 66'), Russo.
SUBS | Baggaley, Harris, Boe Risa, F Fuso, Jones.
- Gareth Taylor's side are one of only two sides that Manchester United have faced but haven’t beaten in the FA WSL (D2 L2), along with Chelsea (D1 L3).
- The draw means City go unbeaten in our first four league games against a specific opponent for the eighth time, having achieved this against Brighton (W3 D1), Everton (W4), Notts County (W2 D2), Reading (W4), Sunderland (W4), West Ham (W4) and Yeovil (W4).
City kick-off our Continental Cup campaign on Wednesday 13 October with the visit of Everton.
It's a 19:00 (UK time) kick-off at the Academy Stadium and tickets are available for the Group B North clash, which will also be broadcast live on CITY+
A CITY+ subscription costs just £1.99 per month, granting access to full-match replays of all Men’s, Women’s, EDS and Academy fixtures, as well as original documentaries and selected live broadcasts.
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