United scraped into the quarter-finals courtesy of a headed goal from Wes Brown.
As suspected Sir Alex Ferguson used this fixture to give some of his fringe layers the chance to get some much valued match-time. There were no places for Van der Sar, Vidic, Evra, Nani or Berbatov whilst Fletcher, Smalling and Rooney were on the bench.
Team – Lindegaard, Fabio, Brown, O`Shea, Rafael, Anderson, Carrick, Gibson, Hernandez, Obertan, Bebe
Subs – Kuszczak, Smalling, Tunnicliffe, Fletcher, Pogba, Rooney, King
With United having made nine changes, it was Crawley who got the half started and the non-league side started well. An early cross in, from the left flank, caused United problems and just past the ten minute mark a delightful volley from Smith had Lindegaard scampering back relieved that it drifted wide of the post.
United, although pushing forward, were creating nothing more than a string of corners which a resilient Crawley defence coped with well, but with 27 minutes on the clock , it was to be a corner that was to be their undoing.
It came after a great ball from Gibson had freed Hernandez but one too many touches form the Mexican saw his effort deflected for a corner. Gibson took a short one and received the ball back and when he delivered a cross into the area it was Brown that rose to glance a header past Kuipers.
United 1 Crawley 0 (Brown – 28 minutes)
Gibson, starting to pull the strings in midfield, provided a great ball for Fabio but the full back, in advanced position, poked his shot wide with the wrong foot. As half time approached Kuipers did well to save a low drive from Obertan.
Half Time – United 1 Crawley 0
Sir Alex made one change at half time introducing Rooney in place of Anderson. United kicked off but it was to be Crawley who were to gain the plaudits for a gallant second half display.
The United rearguard did well to deal with a series of crosses delivered by Howell and Gibson whilst Smith saw a decent shot blocked. Sir Alex tried to shore things up by introducing Smalling for Rafael and the centre back made an immediate impact denying Tubbs with a decent block.
Crawley continued to push forward and a Hunt volley, after a great build up involving a Brodie cross, flew wide. A rare United effort saw Kuipers save a shot from Fabio before Crawley maintained their push for an equaliser with a Tubbs overhead just clearing the bar.
Howell then saw his free kick, from distance, clear the bar before Tubbs repeated the feat from even further rout.
With four minutes of stoppage time announced United hearts were in their mouths when a looping header form Brodie, smacked against the bar. Rooney saw his shot fizz wide before, with the last effort of the game, McFadzean saw his header flash high and wide.
United were through but all credit to Crawley Town for a fantastic effort.
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