Fulham’s under 21s let a two-goal lead slip last night as Manchester City staged a stirring fightback to extend their unbeaten run to seven matches after an absorbing encounter at Motspur Park tonight.

Steve Wigley’s side raced into a 2-0 lead after five minutes with early strikes from Luke Harris and Sonny Hilton a fitting reward for their fine start, but left back Kane Taylor halved the visitors’ arrears with a predatory finish ten minutes before the break and in-form forward Will Dickson tucked home the loose ball after George Wickens had parried an effort from Alex Robertson two minutes into the second period.

The home side began on the front foot with Devan Tanton’s cross cleverly flicked on by Harris only for Callum McFarlane, preferred to Olly Sanderson and Terry Ablade up front, to power over the bar. But the young Whites were in front only four minutes later. McFarlane teed up Harris, whose powerful drive from just inside the box had too much power for Mikki van Sass.

City had shown little by this point, but the going behind appeared to galvanise Brian Barry-Murphy’s men. Robertson worked a lovely one-two with Dickson but Wickens, who replaced Alex Borto between the sticks, proved equal to the midfielder’s shot. Fulham went straight up the other end and doubled their advantage, with Hilton pouncing on a dreadful error from van Sass to score from the tightest of angles after the Dutch keeper had tried to play out from the back.

It could have easily been three when Luciano D’Auria-Henry, deployed in central midfield this evening, rampaged down the right as if he was still at right back, delivering a devilish cross from which McFarlane shaved the far post. City forced their way back into their contest when the lively left winger Joel Ndala burst onto a ball from Adedire¬†Awokoyo-Mebude and, after the hosts spurned several chances to clear, Taylor steered an assured finish past Wickens. The goalkeeper made then made a magnificent stop from Robertson’s free kick to keep Fulham’s lead intact.

Wigley would have warned his charges that the league leaders would not be as passive in the second period, but the Whites surrendered their lead within two minutes of the restart. Robertson was again denied by Wickens but this time Dickson was on hand to turn the rebound into an unguarded net. The Whites were then indebted to Wickens’ fine fingertip save for preventing Robertson from putting City in front after lovely interplay with him and Awokoyo-Mebude.

City, whose lead over second-placed Chelsea is now three points, pushed for a winner with referee Alan Dale turning down late penalty appeals after Awokoyo-Mebude went down in the area but Fulham held on to claim a precious point against opposition who have won back-to-back league titles. The fact that Fulham were disappointed with a draw shows just how far Wigley’s side have come in the past eighteen months or so.

FULHAM UNDER 21s: Wickens; Tanton, Araujo, C. Robinson, Odutayo; Okkas (Williams 56), Pajaziti; Hilton (Ablade 77), Harris, D’Auria-Henry; McFarlane (Sanderson 66). Subs (not used): Allen, Godo.

GOALS: Harris (5), Hilton (15).

MANCHESTER CITY ELITE DEVELOPMENT SQUAD (4-3-3): van Sass; Agyemang (McDonald 56), Taylor, Alleyne, Burns; Charles, Breckin, Robertson (Adam 67); Awokoyo-Mebude, Ndala (Borges 67), Dickson. Subs (not used): McNamara.

BOOKED: Alleyne, Breckin.

GOALS: Taylor (35), Dickson (47).

REFEREE: Alan Dale.