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Fifth Round Proper
5.15pm, Saturday 19 February 2011
Old Trafford, Manchester United FC
Winning clubs receive £180,000 from The FA's prize fund
Click here for results
Conference Premier side Crawley Town came within the width of the crossbar of snatching a famous draw at Old Trafford on Saturday night, but Wes Brown's first goal in nearly two and a half years was enough to send Manchester United into the Sixth Round of The FA Cup against Steve Evans’ valiant side.
Stand-in skipper Brown headed home midway through the first half on an uncomfortable afternoon for the Premier League leaders who were pushed all the way by the West Sussex club.
Crawley, cheered on by 9,000 travelling supporters, battled tirelessly against a club, which has won the trophy more than any other.
And they almost rescued an incredible replay in injury time when Richard Brodie's looping header beat everyone but the bar.
But Sir Alex Ferguson will be relieved to make it through to the last eight but concerned that twins Rafael and Fabio and fellow Brazilian Anderson all hobbled out of the action with knocks.
The United boss made nine changes from the side that started the Manchester derby with hero Wayne Rooney taking his place on a youthful bench.
Crawley more than matched their visitors in the opening exchanges and even had the first meaningful attempt at goal with a Ben Smith looping volley from 30 yards that drifted just wide.
United finally got into their stride in the 28th minute when Darron Gibson's incisive pass found Javier Hernandez but the Mexican wanted too much time and David Hunt scrambled back to clear.
But from the resulting corner, Gibson whipped in a dangerous cross that an unmarked Brown flicked in beyond Michael Kuipers.
Gibson then cut open the Crawley defence again with another precision pass but Fabio poked his effort harmlessly wide.
Gabriel Obertan and Gibson twice tested Kuipers as United began to dominate but they couldn't extend their advantage before the break.
Rooney came on at half time but United took their foot off the gas as they failed to create any decent opportunities in the whole.
And they were almost made to pay. First, Hunt found space in the box but volleyed well wide and in the 75th minute they went even closer when Matt Tubbs tried to recreate Rooney's wonder goal from last weekend but his overhead kick went inches over.
In injury time, Crawley forced a corner and the ball found its way to Brodie, who unchallenged, looped a header agonisingly against the bar.
It was a dream tie for Crawley, but in the end they had to wake up as United's name goes into the hat for Sunday's draw, which will be streamed live on FATV from 4pm.
34 Lindegaard; 21 Rafael Da Silva (Smalling 55), 6 Brown, 22 O’Shea, 20 Fabio Da Silva (Fletcher 69); 16 Carrick, 8 Anderson (Rooney, 46), 28 Gibson, 33 Bebe; 14 Hernandez, 26 Obertan
Subs not used 29 Kuszczak, 41 King, 42 Pogba, 46 Tunnicliffe.
1 Kuipers; 4 Hunt, 22 Mills, 27 McFadzen, 23 Howell; 17 Gibson (Cook 69), 7 Smith (Rusk 82), 15 Bulman, 8 Torres, 14 McAllister (Brodie 63); 9 Tubbs.
Subs not used 30 Shearer, 3 Rents, 16 Wilson, 21 Napper.
Referee Lee Probert