CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0, MANCHESTER UNITED 0
Manchester United had an uncomfortable night as they were held to a draw at League Two minnows in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
It was a night to remember for Cambridge who richly deserved a replay at Old Trafford which is likely to earn them over £500,000.
Richard Money’s Cambridge battled every inch of the way and it was hard to believe that 75 league places separated the teams in the footballing pyramid.
It was very much a case of Cambridge lifting their game while United were ill at ease playing in front of 8,000 fans at the compact Abbey Stadium in a game which mirrored their third-round tie at Yeovil where they struggled to win.
The FA Cup represents Louis van Gaal with his only chance of silverware in his debut season at Old Trafford and his team selection echoed that as it was a strong line up with the exception of the rested Wayne Rooney while Robin van Persie was on the bench.
But the big guns were nullified and Cambridge were arguably the more dangerous side in the opening period.
And whole United applied more pressure in the second half, the home side defended superbly and were only occasionally threatened.
It was disappointing for United’s Michael Carrick who said: “We came here to win and wanted to win and get into the next round.
“It was a scrappy first half in which Cambridge made it very hard for us. We were better in the second half and on another day could have won.
“It is frustrating but at least we are still in the FA Cup and got a replay. You have seen what happens in the FA Cup many times before.
“Cambridge defended well and in numbers in the box and defended well, though we have to do better than we did.”
Daley Blind and Adnan Januzaj had early half chances before Cambridge had the best chance of first period when Josh Coulson blocked a goal attempt from a team mate on the United line before the rebound to him as his header from inside the six-yard box looped just over.
Late in the first half Angel Di Maria had a couple of decent efforts as keeper Chris Dunne scrambled away his first goal attempt while the second was a free kick which curled just wide.
It took an hour before United carved out their first clear-cut chance when Radamel Falcao was denied by a brilliant block by keeper Chris Dunn.
United were forced to muster big guns van Persie and Ander Herrera midway through the second half as they looked for new ideas to find a way through the resolute home defence.
And van Persie ought to have scored with his first touch as he blazed over from six yards when you would have put your mortgage on him finding the net.
United had one last chance deep into injury time when Dunn made a great save to deny Di Maria, a slice of luck they fully deserved.