Emirates FA Cup
Manchester United vs. Sheffield United
Venue: Old Trafford
Date: Saturday, 9 January 2016
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Manchester United survived a third round FA Cup scare, booking their place in the fourth round draw via Wayne Rooney’s injury time penalty against Sheffield United.
The team from Yorkshire can feel hard done by, as they deserved to take this tie back to Bramall Lane for a replay, but it wasn’t to be, with the United skipper converting from 12 yards in front of the Stretford End.
Old Trafford is ranked 92nd out of the maximum 92 football league grounds in terms of the amount of goals on show this season, and this was another drab game and shoddy performance from the home side.
Yet another first half without an Old Trafford goal, stretching back to September 30, with Rooney shifting onto his right foot from Ander Herrera’s pass, before striking the ball over the bar without troubling and from distance.
Matteo Darmian’s through ball was met by Rooney who rounded goalkeeper George Long, but his attempted cut back was cut out.
Juan Mata dummied a central free-kick which Rooney could only strike the top of the wall with, as Mata’s short free-kick routine from the wide was met by Daley Blind, who could only fire over, as half-time arrived to a chorus of jeers.
On for Mata, Memphis looked to find the breakthrough, cutting inside but firing a shot wide, as Chris Basham saw a tame shot held at the other end.
Likewise, Darmian’s weaker foot effort was held with ease, before Fellaini teed up Bastian Schweinsteiger, but the German sliced a left-footed attempt off target.
Schweinsteiger then suffered a nasty injury after Martial had a shot blocked from substitute Jesse Lingard’s lay-off, but the midfielder was able to hobble on for the remainder of the game.
United’s third substitute, Andreas Pereira, whipped in a free-kick from the right, which saw Martial’s shot blocked once more before Chris Smalling failed to connect with the loose ball as the chance disappeared.
Memphis cut inside and fired wide for the second time before he won the decisive spot-kick deep into injury time.
After beating right-back John Brayford to force his way into the area, Leicester City loanee Dean Hammond brought down the winger, which Rooney duly obliged to make the most of, sending his penalty into the bottom left-hand corner, with keeper Long diving the wrong way.
That was the third of six added minutes, with United lucky to make it through a tricky tie, undeservedly scraping past a resolute Sheffield United side, to book their place in Monday’s fourth round draw.
Each half was met by a few jeers, whilst ironic cheers took place each time United had a shot on target (which wasn’t many), clearly showing the frustration of the fans towards the current style of play.
Nonetheless, this late winner prevents an unneeded replay taking place, with trips to Newcastle United and Liverpool to follow in the league, the former scheduled for Tuesday night up at St. James Park, with a 7:45pm kick-off time.
Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson; Fellaini (Pereira 78), Schweinsteiger; Mata (Memphis 60), Herrera (Lingard 60), Martial; Rooney.
Subs: Romero, Varela, McNair, Lingard, Pereira, Memphis, Keane.
Manager: Louis van Gaal
Sheffield United: Long; Brayford, Edgar, Collins, McEveley (Reed 78); Coutts, Basham, Hammond, Woolford, Sammon (Done 90); Sharp (Flynn 64).
Subs: Howard, Flynn, Baxter, Done, Campbell-Ryce, Reed, Adams.
Manager: Nigel Adkins