Premier League giants did not quite slip on the Crawley Town banana skin but they certainly had a few stumbles. The non league minnows put up a brave performance going down to the lone Wes Brown 28 minute header at Old Trafford but only the width of the crossbar prevented what would have been a deserved, injury time equaliser. In the end, an under strength United survived the tie to go through to the FA Cup quarter Finals.
Sir Alex Ferguson was full of praise the Blue Square League club saying that “It didn’t matter what the scoreline was today, it was their day – there’s no question about that” he told MUTV “they deserved a draw, really, on the second half, with the effort they put in, the commitment. They made it very difficult for us and we were second to every ball. It’s disappointing. But we had some players who maybe don’t understand what FA Cup football is like. Maybe for them it’s the biggest lesson.”
Manchester United 1 v Crawley Town 0
Guardian – Wayne Rooney scored the goal of his life last week in the Manchester derby but was brought back down to earth by non-league opponents in the Cup. As were Manchester United, who even allowing for wholesale changes were embarrassingly ordinary. Rooney was only sent on for the second half in an attempt to beef up an anaemic showing from the home attacking players in the first period, but though he rescued the City game from near anonymity he was unable to do anything with this one. He made little or no difference, becoming increasingly frustrated at his impotence, and ended up being booked for a petulant and unnecessary foul on Kyle McFadzean.
United were massively grateful that Richard Brodie could only head against the bar in stoppage time, for a Crawley equaliser would not been undeserved. In the end the Premier League side scraped through by virtue of the only goal of the game, from a defender at a set piece. It was hardly what had been imagined, and if this outcome was an impressive advertisement for Conference standards it was a dismal one for United’s strength in depth Full Report
The Argus – Crawley produced a performance to remember as they lost 1-0 to Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford. Wes Brown’s first half headed decided the issue but Crawley put up a terrific display and almost snatched an equaliser in stoppage time when substitute Richard Brodie headed against the crossbar.
The Reds made an excellent start and had a chance after just 12 seconds when Wille Gibson just failed to get on the end of a Craig McAllister cross from the left. On 11 minutes Matt Tubbs headed the ball down for Ben Smith who unleashed a swerving shot past the far upright Full Report
Manchester Evening News – Manchester United ended Crawley Town’s FA Cup dream at Old Trafford thanks to Wes Brown’s winner at Old Trafford. Although the Reds didn’t find top gear, Brown’s glancing header from a Darron Gibson cross after 28 minutes puts them into the quarter-finals. United, for whom John O’Shea and Brown were impressive in defence, had to withstand second-half pressure from the non-league visitors. Crawley’s Richard Brodie hit the United bar with a header in injury time.
The hosts survived though, despite being below par, ending the game with Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez occupying wide positions, either side of an ineffective Gabriel Obertan and an anonymous Bebe. Indeed, Rooney’s frustrations bubbled over into a lunge on Kyle McFadzean that earned the England striker a yellow card. It will be of no consolation to Crawley that Brown’s header was a collector’s item. His first goal since October 2008 and only his fifth in over 350 games for the Reds Full Report
Manchester United – Lindegaard, Rafael (Smalling 53), Fabio (Fletcher 68), O’Shea, Brown, Gibson, Carrick, Bebe, Anderson (Rooney 45), Obertan, Hernandez – GOAL Brown (28m)
Crawley Town – Kuipers, Hunt, McFadzean, Mills, Howell, Gibson (Cook 69), Bulman, Smith (Rusk 81), Torres, Tubbs, McAllister (Brodie 62)