United Are Through
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Kieran Lee both scored as United defeated Crewe in extra-time in the 3th round of the Carling Cup. The spirited home side managed to equalise after Solskjaer's opener and caused a lot of problems for the back-four and Kuszczak but in the 119th minute Lee sent United through with .
Alan Smith has made his start since his horrific injury suffered at Anfield back in February. The first period of the game, however, was not his time: the hosts started brightly and Kuszczak had to be at his best several times to deny the Crewe attackers inspired by Cox and Varney. The latter even scored after Kuszczak parried Osbourne's shot but it was ruled out for offside. Then, out of the blue, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - deployed on the right wing for the night - scored, immediately after taking the lead, Richardson hit the bar so it could have been all over at half-time in spite of the home side impressive display.
The second half was really difficult for United. Returning after injuries, Silvestre and Heinze were tiring visibly and with Gray having a thoroughly disappointing night in the office, the Red Devils' defence was ripped open repeatedly and could have been behind long before the equaliser had Kuszczak not made some fine saves. United's midfield pairing of Ritchie Jones and David Jones made valuable contribution to our build-up play but they failed to break up Crewe attacks so no wonder that Luke Varney finally found the goal you could see was coming when he finished off a good move in the 73th minute.
It served as an alarm bell for United, who finally started to apply some pressure to the hosts' goal. Co-operation of the Reds' two most creditable performers, Solskjaer and Richardson almost yielded the winning goal five minutes from time but the latter hit the post after being played in by the Norwegian so the game went into extra-time.
From that time, it was clear that the visitors are in better shape physically and they dominated the game but could only create some half-chances as penalties loomed large. Then substitute - and debutant - Kieran Lee latched onto a fine pass from the otherwise quiet Alan Smith and slotted the ball past Williams with impressive composure to send Manchester United into the fourth round where they are going to meet Championship side Southend United.
United: Kuszczak - Gray (Lee), Brown, Silvestre, Heinze - Solskjaer, R. Jones, D. Jones, Richardson - Marsh (Barnes; Shawcross), Smith