FA Cup rescue acts
Robin van Persie came up trumps at West Ham on Saturday to write his name into United’s illustrious FA Cup history.
The Reds left it late to secure a place in the fourth-round draw by forcing a replay just when the Hammers were poised to celebrate victory.
Obviously, it wasn’t the first time that United have scored late on to stay in the competition so we took a look back at some instances in the past when a goal in the final 10 minutes has avoided being beaten in the world’s most famous cup tournament.
2002: Aston Villa 2 United 3
2-0 down with 13 minutes left, the Reds roared back with Ruud van Nistelrooy scoring twice past Peter Schmeichel in quick succession to add to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s equaliser. Some away fans invaded the pitch to mob the deadly Dutchman.
1999: United 2 Liverpool 1
Another tie in which victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat. Dwight Yorke levelled Michael Owen’s opener with a couple of minutes left before Solskjaer struck a killer blow en route to the Treble amid chaotic celebrations at the Theatre of Dreams.
1996: United 2 Sunderland 2
Crowd pleaser Eric Cantona needed to equalise with 10 minutes left after the Rokerites had overturned Nicky Butt’s effort. Andy Cole hit a 90th minute winner in the replay on Wearside to keep the side on course for winning the competition.
1994: Oldham 1 United 1 (Wembley)
The clock was ticking down on what would have been a momentous win for Joe Royle’s Latics but Mark Hughes conjured up the most sensational of volleys in stoppage time of extra time, from a speculative Butt pass, to break Oldham’s hearts and set up the club’s first-ever Double.
1992: United 2 Southampton 2
It only prolonged the agony but Brian McClair’s 90th minute equaliser forced extra time against the Saints after Alex Ferguson’s side found themselves 2-0 down inside 21 minutes. Andrei Kanchelskis had given the hosts hope but Tim Flowers emerged as the hero in the penalty shoot-out as the visitors won 4-2 on spot-kicks.
1990: Crystal Palace 3 United 3 (Wembley)
With seven minutes left, the chances of the boss picking up his first trophy at the club were vanishing fast. Hughes kept his composure to roll his second goal of the match past Nigel Martyn and Lee Martin’s strike won the replay and the rest, as they say, is history.
1972: United 1 Stoke 1
Jimmy Greenhoff, later to become an Old Trafford favourite, looked to have sent the Potters through but George Best equalised with five minutes left. Although Best scored again in the replay, Stoke came from behind following extra time to clinch a place in the semi-finals.
1965: United 2 Burnley 1
The Reds were trailing to Andy Lochhead’s effort at Old Trafford until a quickfire double inside the space of a couple of minutes. Denis Law’s overhead kick and a Paddy Crerand howitzer did the damage to turn the tie on its head and set up a classic sixth-round encounter at Wolves.
1964: United 3 Sunderland 3
A stirring FA Cup clash was heading the Second Division leaders’ way following a second-half double by Johnny Crossan. After keeper Jim Montgomery complained of concussion when blocking a Law shot, United took full advantage with two goals inside the last four minutes from Bobby Charlton and Best and Law almost won it.
1964: Sunderland 2 United 2
A match that became the stuff of legend in the North East with some reckoning it was watched by a record Roker Park crowd despite the official attendance of 46,727. With a couple of minutes of extra time left, Charlton set up a second replay, which the Reds won 5-1, thanks to a crucial header that silenced the masses on the terraces.
1962: United 2 Bolton 1
Wanderers led for a long spell in this third-round tie through Dennis Stevens but David Herd appeared to have forced a draw in the 83rd minute despite looking suspiciously offside. However, there was still time for Jimmy Nicholson to send the crowd wild with a last-gasp winner, firing in off a post, and exacting some revenge for the last meeting in the competition – the 1958 final.
1955: Reading 1 United 1
Allenby Chilton’s own goal was proving costly at Elm Park until Colin Webster saved the Reds with only five minutes left. The Welshman’s strike enabled United to cruise home in the snow-affected replay 4-1 but his team were lucky in the first game with Wally Hinshelwood missing three good chances to kill the tie off.