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Dublin: 6°C Saturday 10 April 2021


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IT WAS OVER to Deepdale for the final FA Cup fixture of the weekend. Or the first of the week, depending on which way you want to look at it. 

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail, tweet @football_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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To quote Saul Goodman: “It’s showtime, folks!”

All but one of the FA Cup fifth round ties have been decided and tonight Manchester United will be heavy favourites to take the final place in the quarter-finals when they face Preston North End.

Kick-off is 40 minutes away, so without further ado. Here are the teams:

Preston: Stuckmann, Clarke, Huntington, Wright, Laird, Humphrey, Welsh, Kilkenny, Gallagher, Davies, Garner.


Man Utd: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Rooney, Fellaini, Di Maria, Falcao.

United make five changes to the team which defeated Burnley 3-1 last Wednesday with Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini all coming in.

Paddy McNair, Phil Jones, Johnny Evans, Adnan Januzaj and Robin van Persie drop out.

Former Manchester United star David Beckham famously spent a month on loan at Preston back in 1995 and impressed Alex Ferguson enough to be handed an opportunity in United’s first team.

Even as a 19-year-old, he was a dead-ball specialist.

Source: foster1459/YouTube

Preston, currently fourth in England’s third tier, are managed by former Leeds United boss Simon Grayson — who knocked United out of this very competition during his time with the Yorkshire club in 2010.

“This tie does a lot for the football club,” he said this week . “It lifts the profile, it will be a fantastic atmosphere, brings in vital revenue and we have to go out and enjoy it and see where it takes us.

We have nothing to lose and Manchester United certainly has. The one thing you don’t want the team to do is to let it pass them by, because these games don’t come around too often.

“You have to grasp it and somewhere down the line there might be a hero – and from becoming a local hero, they suddenly become a national and worldwide hero if they produce a performance and get a goal to knock Manchester United out of the FA Cup.”

The United players warming up this evening. Radamel Falcao has been given another opportunity to impress his manager tonight. The Colombian’s big money loan spell from Monaco has been less than inspiring so far.

Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Preston North End v Manchester United - Deepdale Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Here comes the quarter-final draw…

Flag 1Mins

We’ve just kicked off. Preston wearing white and navy while Man United are in their traditional red, white and black.


Early pressure from United and Luke Shaw gets himself forward to earn a corner. Rooney to take, and it’s headed straight back out to him. He feeds Di Maria, who puts the ball back into the box but Preston win a free out for pushing.


Daley Blind loses his footing but there aren’t any Preston players in position to capitalise. BBC co-commentator Martin Keown calls it a “comical” moment.

Moments later, Kevin Davies, once of Bolton Wanderers, uses his experience to earn what looks like a soft free-kick from the versatile Dutchman.


The Preston fans honour a legend of the club, Tom Finney, who passed away one year ago.


Bailey Wright fouls Falcao and United have a free-kick 30 yards out from goal. Di Maria curls the ball up and over the wall but it’s a couple of yards wide of the post.


Fellaini, who is no stranger to dishing out the occasional elbow himself, takes one to the nose from Wright and has to leave the field momentarily for attention. Referee Phil Dowd doesn’t penalise the Preston defender, however.


Di Maria whips a free-kick from distance to the back post but Falcao can’t make contact with the back and it harmlessly goes behind for a goal-kick.


The home side get the chance to test the United defence with a free-kick out wide, which Joe Garner gets onto the end of. He heads over under pressure from Marcos Rojo.


Di Maria over-hits a cross and the camera turns to Van Gaal, looking a little frustrated in his technical area. United have had the lion’s share of possession but they have yet to pose a goal threat.

Soccer - FA Cup - Fifth Round - Preston North End v Manchester United - Deepdale Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images


Rooney makes a run in behind the Preston defence and is spotted by Di Maria. The pass over the top looks a good one but it’s slightly overcooked and Rooney can’t control.


Falcao lays off to the onrushing Rooney but Wright makes a super last-ditch tackle to cut out the pass.

One minute of added time to play.

Flag 46Mins

Half-time: Preston North End 0-0 Man United 

Britain Soccer FA Cup Angel Di Maria holds his head in his hands. Source: AP/Press Association Images


“Let’s hope we get a few goals,” says BBC commentator Gary Lineker as the teams re-emerge. I’d like to echo those sentiments.

Flag 52Mins

GOAL! Preston North End 1-0 Man United (Scott Laird)

The ball comes across the ball to Scott Laird and he drives a ball at the United goal. Valencia attempts to block the strike and it’s deflected past David De Gea to hand Preston a priceless goal.


The wind is in Preston’s sails now and Deepdale is rocking. Tom Clarke looks favourite to get a shot away but fails to make sufficient contact with a cross.


Di Maria drills at goal from 25 yards where Thorston Stuckmann collects routinely. United showing a little more urgency in recent minutes, however.

Valencia gets a couple of yards down the right flank and crosses for Fellaini but Preston’s German goalkeeper is on-hand to save again.


Once again hopelessly ineffective, Radamel Falcao is the first man to be withdrawn. Ashley Young is in for him and Fellaini goes up front with Rooney.

He doesn’t look to happy about it either.


The ball drops for Fellaini seven yards out and he swings a leg at it but sees the attempt blocked by the body of Paul Huntington.

Flag 65Mins

GOAL! Preston North End 1-1 Man United (Ander Herrera) 

United are level! Substitute Young tees up Herrera and the Spaniard scores his fifth goal for the club by finding the bottom corner. Rooney, standing in an offside position, jumps out of the way as the ball flies by.

Flag 76Mins

GOAL! Preston North End 1-2 Man United (Marouane Fellaini) 

The visitors have turned this one on its head. Valencia puts in a deep cross to the back post and Fellaini’s initial header is blocked but he follows up to blast home from close range.


Fellaini goes close to doubling his tally after a nice turn but the effort is blocked. He has created more in the last 18 minutes than Falcao had in the previous 61.


Two shots from Preston in recent minutes, one just wide and the other down the throat of De Gea. They are pushing bodies forward but it is leaving gaps at the back.


PENALTY TO MAN UNITED. Stuckmann picks up a yellow card after a clumsy challenge but Rooney has blatantly dived there.

Flag 88Mins

GOAL! Preston North End 1-3 Man United (Wayne Rooney) 

Rooney picks himself up and send the goalkeeper the wrong way to seal the result.

So Man United join Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Brom, Blackburn Rovers, Reading and Bradford in the last eight. They will play the Gunners in the quarter-final.

About the author:

Ben Blake