Scunthorpe United 2-5 Manchester United
Carling Cup 3rd Round
Holders Manchester United survived an early scare at Glanford Park as they came from behind to beat Championship side Scunthorpe United 5-2 in the Carling Cup 3rd round.
Josh Wright’s sublime curling effort from 20 yards put The Iron into a shock lead, before goals from Darron Gibson and Chris Smalling nudged United in front.
A well taken brace from Michael Owen and a Ji-Sung Park strike after the break saw United take control, but Scunthorpe’s Martyn Woolford had the last word as he bagged a well deserved consolation for the home side.
In front of a record crowd of over 9000 at Glanford Park, it was a strong looking Manchester United side (although all 11 of the players who played against Liverpool were rested) that took to the pitch as they started the defence of the trophy that they have won for two consecutive seasons.
But it was the Championship side who took early control, Jon Forte and Chris Dagnall combining as early as the first minute to worry a United defence that included Rio Ferdinand who continued his return from the injury that ruled him out of England’s World Cup campaign.
United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was kept busy in a furious opening quarter as Woolford went close before Kuszczak palmed away Eddie Nolan’s venomous drive.
On 18 minutes Scunthorpe got the goal that their play richly deserved, and in some style.
Woolford was released on the left wing and cut inside before laying the ball out on the edge of the area to Josh Wright. He took one touch to steady himself before smashing a glorious shot into the top corner of the Manchester United goal.
Three sides of Glanford Park went wild as Wright celebrated his first ever goal for the club, and hopes of one of the great cup shocks looked to be on the cards.
Red Devils manager Sir Alex Ferguson was a notable absentee along with his big name players, choosing instead to watch United’s next Champions League opponents Valencia.
But Ferguson would have been proud of the way this young United team bounced back from going a goal behind.
Just four minutes later, and with their first real attack of any purpose, they equalised as Darron Gibson was afforded time and space in the box, and he lobbed Scunthorpe goalkeeper Joe Murphy with precision to equalise.
It was a sumptuous finish from Gibson, but The Iron defence will have been disappointed that they didn’t get tighter.
That goal didn’t deter Scunthorpe though, and the pace of Forte caused problems for Rio Ferdinand. Forte hit a rasping effort that squirmed through Kuszczak’s gloves and almost wriggled into the net, before Iron captain Cliff Byrne headed over when well placed from a corner.
Scunthorpe were left to rue their missed chances on 35 minutes when they failed to clear a free kick properly, and Ji-Sung Park picked out Smalling who volleyed home his first Manchester United goal.
Three minutes after the restart, United went further in front when Michael Owen latched onto Federico Macheda’s through ball and finished with aplomb.
It was an impressive performance from former England striker Owen, who nodded down a Gibson corner for Park to smash in United’s fourth as they took control.
Owen made sure of the result with twenty minutes remaining as he scrambled home after Murphy spilled Park’s shot following a driving run from midfield.
Despite the heavy scoreline, Scunthorpe were still a force in the game and continued to pepper Kuszczak’s goal; Michael O’Connor going close before Kuszczak twice thwarted Iron substitute Bobby Grant from range.
It was Woolford who had the last word of a thoroughly entertaining cup tie as his shot from 15 yards rolled into the bottom corner.
It was a nice moment for the life long Manchester United fan Woolford, and gave the scoreline a more respectable finish for The Iron who were far from outplayed.
Scunthorpe can be proud of their efforts that on another day might have resulted in more, but Manchester United’s clinical finishing proved to be the difference as they put paid to any thoughts of a giant killing.