David Moyes' side had gone behind in the first 20 minutes to Steve Sidwell's deft finish, and then struggled to get back on terms until two goals in two minutes turned the tie around completely.
It looked for all the world that United had finally got the three points they desperately needed, but instead Bent was on hand to turn home after Kieran Richardson's powerful strike had been well saved by David De Gea, as the nightmare continued for Moyes.
Here's how United's players fared.
|Manchester United Live Player Ratings|
|Player||Half-time rating||Full-time rating|
|David De Gea||6||6|
|Rafael da Silva||6||6|
|Robin van Persie||6||7|
David De Gea: Was unable to do anything about Steve Sidwell's goal, which was about all he was asked to try and defend during the first half.
Rafael: His crossing was wildly erratic, but improved as the half went on.
Chris Smalling: Somewhat tentative on the ball when United were trying to build from the back.
Nemanja Vidic: His lack of pace was exposed more than once, but it was others to blame when Sidwell ran in behind the captain to score.
Patrice Evra: Fulham overloaded their right flank, nullifying much of the Frenchman's threat.
Juan Mata: Slipped in and out of the contest, and perhaps should have tracked Sidwell for the goal.
Michael Carrick: Came the closest to scoring for United, and looked his usual controlled self as he moved the ball around.
Darren Fletcher: Seemed to spot Sidwell's run but failed to go with him. A mistake.
Ashley Young: Had plenty of chances to deliver an incisive ball, but generally failed in that aim.
Wayne Rooney: Impressed more with his workrate and willingness to track back than his attacking threat.
Robin van Persie: Wasted a couple of great opportunities—looked somewhat rusty in the first half.
David De Gea: Made a fine save to deny Richardson at the death, but inadvertantly only parried the ball into the path of Bent for a dramatic equaliser.
Rafael: Was withdrawn by Moyes for Valencia, who offered a more reliable crossing threat down the right.
Chris Smalling: Will surely wonder how his side managed to concede twice in this game.
Nemanja Vidic: Could only look on in horror as Bent beat him to the ball for a last-gasp equaliser.
Patrice Evra: Could have had three or four assists, had his team-mates' finishing been even slightly better.
Juan Mata: Continued to be a faint presence in the game, although his volley at goal did assist Van Persie for the crucial equaliser.
Michael Carrick: Showed composure to put United ahead with a well-executed drive from the edge of the box, a strike that really should have been the winner.
Darren Fletcher: Was subbed as United looked for a greater attacking threat.
Ashley Young: Another to be withdrawn, despite having an impactful game. Januzaj came on and was undeniably livelier, however.
Wayne Rooney: Dropped into midfield as Moyes rung the second half changes, but did not control the game.
Robin van Persie: His goal was a poacher's effort, and really should have been enough to set United on the way to victory.