Non-league Crawley Town gave Manchester United a hell of a match before finally gracefully bowing out of the FA Cup, but hats off to them for the wonderful spirit they brought with them to Old Trafford, and hats off to their supporters who cheered on the team till the very last seconds. The Red Devils have Wes Brown to thank for sparing their blushes, as without his goal, this match could have easily ended in a draw, resulting in a replay, or could have given Crawley some more hope in the second half to nail the Red Devils for good as well.
For a non-league team, and facing the Red Devils at Old Trafford, Crawley Town were not to be intimidated, as from kick off they tore into the United half, and the defenders had to be alert to clear off any imminent danger. United barely threatened in the early minutes, despite taking control of the ball, and for yet another time I was left thinking what could have motivated Sir Alex to spend around 7M on Bebe when he might not have even made it into Crawley’s starting line-up. On the other hand Crawley were causing trouble in the United defense, with long range shots, although not really threatening Lindegaard, deputizing for Van Der Sar for the night.
However, it was United which managed to find the way to goal, as following Gibson’s great cross, Brown flicked the ball with the back of his head, but it was enough to beat Crawley’s keeper, Kuipers, and send United into the lead. But that was it to cheer about, although Gibson failed to make 2-0 minutes later as he shot wide. Chicharito was trying to find a suitable spot for himself in attack, but was harassed constantly by the defenders, and eventually did not manage to do much for the first half. Half time 1-0, while many thought United would kill the game, it never happened.
Instead Crawley came out with a more determined mentality, and even the introduction of Rooney for Anderson made no difference as Crawley pushed for an equalizer. They created some opportunities as well, as Tubbs tried an overhead kick which flew just wide and eventually hit the bar on the 92nd minute from Brodie’s header, with Lindegaard beaten. However United managed to hold on for the win, but to be honest Crawley Town did not deserve to lose this match, as they outclassed United for a long period, and may be with some good finish they could have been the winners instead. One thing though, Bebe should either be sold or loaned off, as he’s not worth wearing the shirt and seems really out of place in the squad, even Crawley’s players were way better than him throughout the match.
In a replay match, Chelsea lost to Everton on penalties at Stamford Bridge, piling some more pressure on Ancelotti. The match ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, and went into extra-time. Lampard then found the net on the 104th minute, only to see Baines equalize on the 119th minute from a brilliant freekick. The match then went into penalty kicks, and Anelka and Cole missed for the Blues, while Baines missed his for the Toffees, but Neville scored the crucial penalty and qualified Everton, which will now face Reading for the 5th round, and if they manage a win, they too will qualify for the quarter-finals.