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Sunday 17 December 2017

No giant-killing exploits in Cup at Old Trafford

FA Cup Fourth Round Replay Round Up

Cambridge United's Tom Champion (right) applauds the fans as he leaves the field during the FA Cup, Fourth Round replay at Old Trafford
Cambridge United's Tom Champion (right) applauds the fans as he leaves the field during the FA Cup, Fourth Round replay at Old Trafford

Manchester United survived a very early scare to beat League Two Cambridge United comfortably and set up an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Preston North End.

Striker Tom Elliott should have given Cambridge a shock lead in the replay in the very first minute but his shot hit against the outside of the post after a Daley Blind error had gifted him the ball.

However, that is as good as it got for the visitors as Louis van Gaal’s side took the lead through Juan Mata’s close-range finish after 25 minutes before Marcos Rojo headed in a second seven minutes later.

James Wilson’s 18-yard low strike late the second half sealed the win for the dominant hosts, but Cambridge were not embarrassed in the replay.

Former Cork City midfielder Gearoid Morrisey (inset) came on as a second-half substitute for the Us to gain a playing experience he will never forget.

Preston North End secured their  fifth-round home tie against United as Paul Gallagher scored twice in the 3-1 victory over League One rivals Sheffield United.

Jamie Murphy gave the Blades a half-time lead, but North End then hit three in 10 minutes.

Gallagher, who scored a stunning free-kick in the first tie at Deepdale, repeated the trick to equalise.

Paul Huntington then headed in Scott Laird’s corner, before Gallagher converted a penalty to secure victory.

Sunderland looked like they would become the latest Premier League victim of a shock-filled FA Cup fourth round until Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli’s embarrassing fumble help them turnaround this replay.

Little over a week after Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Southampton saw their hopes go up in smoke, Gus Poyet’s side looked like they would follow suit after Hugo Rodallega gave the Championship side a first-half lead.

However, an unfortunate own goal from the otherwise impressive Bettinelli was followed up by a fine strike from Ricardo Alvarez and Jordi Gomez’s penalty as Sunderland secured a 3-1 win at Craven Cottage. A trip to giant-killing Bradford now awaits.

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