Sunday, February 20, 2011

FA Cup 5th Round - Manchester United (1) vs (0) Crawley Town

(west brwon scored to United)

Manchester United edge past the visiting Devils

Stand in skipper Wes Brown led his team from the front at Old Trafford by scoring the only goal of the match that proved enough to take United to the sixth round of the FA Cup. Brown’s header in the 28th minute was the only difference between the two teams, as a spirited performance from Crawley Town throughout the match led to many United hearts all over the world pounding at a fast rate. Crawley Town lived up to the hype surrounding the match and although; had not much to offer in the attack, they defended pretty well.

Manchester United decided to field a much weakened side considering that they have to face Marseille, Liverpool, Chelsea and Wigan in the coming weeks. There were 9 changes from the team that faced Manchester City last Saturday with Anderson and John O’Shea being the only survivors. Wayne Rooney was on the bench along with three teenagers, Pogba, Tunniclife and King. Crawley fielded the best XI they could gather and the onus was on their leading goal scorer Tubbs to continue his fine goal scoring record.

Crawley made a decent start to the game with McAllister tearing down the left to send in a cross that was well defended by Fabio. Crawley had the first decent go at the goal when their Gibson’s shot from 25 yard out went just past the United goal. Crawley enjoyed a decent possession in the opening stages and particularly, McAlliaster looked the most threatening. But it all changed in the 26th minute. Darron Gibson’s through ball into the Crawley penalty area was hastily cleared by McFadzean and went out for a United corner.
Gibson, high on confidence decided to take the corner himself and his delivery from the left flank was flicked into the corner of Kuiper’s net by the ever-present Wes Brown. It was Brown’s first goal since October 2008 and just his fourth in 358 matches he has played for United. Crawley’s supporters didn’t lose hope and at their juvenile best kept singing “Shall we sing a song for you”, taunting a quiet United crowd that gathered to watch the match. Five minutes later, Gibson set Fabio up from the left channel. Fabio should have scored but the young Brazilian clumsily flicked an effort wide past the left post. Five minutes later, Obertan tricked his way inside from the left wing and fired a thunderous strike that was dodged away by an alert Kuipers. United ended the first half on a more positive note than the visitors.

The second half began with United deciding to bring on last week’s hero Wayne Rooney on instead of Anderson who had a mixed first half where he looked impressive in patches. The change in personnel had an immediate effect as the game became more open and end-to-end. Obertan zipped down the left and sent in a low cross into the centre that was cleared away by Mills before Rooney or Hernandez could apply the finishing touch. Then came a passage of play when Crawley created many chances for themselves and came close to scoring on various occasions. Hunt, Tubbs and Torres all created decent chances but couldn’t score.

Chris Smalling came on for Rafael in the 60th minute and O’Shea was shifted to the right back position. Crawley made a change too as Brodie came on for a tired McAlliaster. 20 minutes from time, the managers decided to make more changes as an injured Fabio made way for Fletcher and Crawley’s Gibson made way for James Cook, an ex-pro golfer. Tubbs made a blistering run down the left flank and sent Brodie away along the wing. Brodie sent in a superb cross where Hunt received it and sent a volley wide left. The build up to this attempt was far better than the finishing touch from the big center back.

A few minutes later, Crawley nearly equalized as Tubbs’ bicycle kick went some six yards over the crossbar. Though his shot was adjudged foul play by the referee; L.Probert. Rooney was booked in the dying minutes of the match as he was caught pushing McFadzean from behind. United spent the final minutes of the match trying to defend the slender one goal lead and were relieved when the referee blew the whistle for full time.

Sir Alex was all praise for the “minnows” in the post match conference. “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. ”

However it was not all loss for Crawley as they will make over one million pounds  ($1.6 million) from the tie via television rights and gate receipts from a


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