Writer: Red Boy
Date:Saturday January 29 2011
United made it into the last sixteen of the FA Cup with a performance, at Southampton, that was as puzzling as it was pleasing.
Sir Alex made numerous changes for the trip to Southampton, Lindegaard made his debut whilst Rafael, Ferdinand (injuries) , Vidic, Evra, Berbatov, Rooney and Nani were all conspicuous by their absence on the starting eleven team sheet, the last three of those being on the bench. Coming into the starting eleven were Fabio, Evans, O`Shea, Scholes, Obertan, Hernandez and Owen.
Team - Lindegaard, Fabio, Evans, Smalling, O`Shea, Anderson, Scholes, Gibson, Obertan, Hernandez, Owen
Subs - Kuszczak, Brown, Giggs, Nani, Berbatov, Rooney, Bebe
First Half - Having made eight changes, Sir Alex watched his charges give a lacklustre first half display in which Southampton didn`t look t be two divisions below us in the standings.
Our hosts got the action underway and immediately pressed forward, Butterfield saw a cross turned behind by Smalling and the corner was only cleared at the third attempt. With seven minutes played Southampton thought they`d taken the lead when Harding netted but offside was given.
United pushed forward and Owen shot narrowly wide before an attempted cross from the same player hit the inside of the far post and came out. Lambert, after Evans had fouled Barnard, saw his free kick just clear the angle of post and bar before a weak shot from Gibson went well wide.
Southampton forced a couple of corners, both of which were dealt with Anderson firing a shot straight at the keeper between those two aforementioned corners. Lambert then saw another long range free kick saved by Lindergaard before Obertan wasted a chance to exert further United pressure by greedily shooting well wide from a poor position.
Lindegaard had to deal with a Harding shot from distance before, as half time approached, Southampton increased the pressure. A Butterfield cross should have been headed home by Guly but he headed over but the lead was to go to our hosts just before half time.
Chaplow burst into the box and with time and space on his side waited for the ball to sit up nicely before lashing an angled shot past Lindegaard.
Southampton 1 United 0 (Chaplow - 45 minutes)
Half Time - Southampton 1 United 0
Second Half - Sir Alex made one change at half time, bringing on Brown for Fabio. United made a better start to the half forcing three corners in quick succession without testing the Southampton keeper. Lindegaard was forced to save a low shot from Harding as the home side remained dangerous.
Just before the hour mark, Sir Alex made two further changes, bringing on Giggs and Nani for Anderson and Gibson, they were to be two changes that were to change the course of the match.
United looked more balanced now and started to force Southampton back. Evans had a header saved before Nani delivered a cross that Owen flicked over the bar at the near post.
But the pressure was to pay reward in the sixty-fifth minute when United equalised. Obertan produced a bit of trickery out wide, cut into the box and his cross was headed home, excellently by Owen.
Southampton 1 United 1 (Owen - 65 minutes)
Southampton fought back though and pushing forward Chaplow saw a cross evade everyone in the six yard box whilst a corner taken by Harding saw Chamberlain produce a deft back-heel for Harding to fire a shot inches past the far post.
But ten minutes after levelling, United were elevel. Dickson, on as a substitute played a poor ball, Owen fed Giggs and his precise pass was excellently finished by Hernandez.
Southampton 1 United 2 (Hernandez - 75 minutes)
Our host tried t gallantly get back on level terms but Lindegaard was rarely threatened, claiming a dangerous looking Harding cross and watching as Chaplow shot wide.
Full Time - Southampton 1 United 2
Definitely a game of two halves.
Date:Saturday January 29 2011
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