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Crawley's Scrape At United Re-invigorated The Cup

Posted Feb 23, 2011 by Shaun Edwards

Rooney was unable to score

With the non-league minnows of Crawley Town having been drawn away to ply their trade in the theatre of dreams at Old Trafford, the signs indicated that we could be on for a brilliant 90 minutes of FA Cup football.  In the end, that was exactly what we were blessed with, even if the play itself wasn’t quite as majestic as it could have been.

Crawley did themselves a huge credit by taking it to Manchester United in every way, and running an admittedly under-strength opposition ragged, especially during the second half of the match.    

The temptation was to state that United’s sub-par side somehow belittled the none leaguer’s achievements: not a bit of it.  No, it wasn’t the full strength United side, but it was still a team blessed with considerable financial and (officially, at least) quality that the visitors were no so lucky to possess.

Bebe – a man who incidentally cost United over £7 million in the summer – looked horrifically out of his depth against players who would rip your arm off if you offered them a tenth of that fee.  Gabriel Obertan performed abysmally despite his weekly wage probably amounting to that of the whole Crawley squad – the midfielder simply doesn’t look like a man with the quality that Ferguson needs..  Seasoned professionals at the top level, John O Shea and Michael Carrick were also present, but had a football ignoramus been told that there were international level players on the pitch, they would have struggled to point them out based on this match.

The visitors held United at bay until the 28th minute, with a looping Wes Brown header that proved to be enough to get the job done found it’s way into the back of the Crawley net.  The non-leaguers can take pride from the fact that Ferguson felt it necessary to introduce Wayne Rooney into the fray in the 54th minute to help increase the lead, and also by the fact that the multi-millionaire was unable to do so. In the last ten minutes of the game, United’s goal was besieged by the visitors, with Richard Brodie’s header brushing off the crossbar, leaving Crawley literally centimetres from obtaining a lucrative replay.

Many critics say the magic of the cup is gone.  Tell that to any Crawley player this week, I dare you.

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