Barnsley 0 Manchester United 2
As predicted by Vital Barnsley, Manchester United progressed into the fifth round of the Carling Cup with a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory.
Barnsley`s line-up changed once again with the cup tied loanees Ryan Shotton and Carl Dickinson being replaced at full back by Rob Kozluk and Julian Gray. Andy Gray, also cup tied was replaced by Jon Macken and Daniel Bogdanovic was rewarded for his substitute appearance on Saturday with a place in the starting eleven at the expense of Iain Hume. Anderson Da Silva was also recalled in midfield with Jamal Campbell-Ryce dropping to the bench.
After a lot of intense build up, including a firework display and a show from the Barnsley Football Club cheerleaders, the match finally arrived. The early opening exchanges were fairly muted but Manchester United grabbed the lead in overwhelming fashion on seven minutes when Danny Wellbeck was on hand to nod in Anderson`s corner at the near post unmarked.
The Reds were under no illusions now of what they were up against and had to take the game to their opponents if they were to gain anything from this match. It was the leaders who forced the next opening however, with the same two players combining again, but this time Luke Steele did well to rush out and block the effort from Wellbeck.
Adam Hammill was, as expected, a thorn in the Premier League Champions` side all night and showed his potential early on when he dashed towards goal but he shot over the bar. Barnsley could have been level on 24 minutes but Bogdanovic could only head wide from Hammill`s excellent corner.
Stephen Foster then had two chances to equalise for Barnsley within minutes in identical fashion but he misdirected both his headers from the respective corners. Anderson Da Silva then gave the Reds an excellent chance once again when he got in behind the United defence and cut the ball back across goal but it was too fast for Macken to get anything on. Hammill picked up the loose ball but couldn`t force it home.
Anderson Da Silva made it into Chris Foy`s notebook on 37 minutes when he challenged United keeper Ben Foster with a raised arm. It was a nothing challenge and the booking got the home crowd`s back up because a talking to would have sufficed. Colace then joined his fellow South American on a yellow card minutes later as his late tackle on Obertan sent the French winger tumbling to the turf.
Just before half-time, Barnsley carved the United defence open again and Bogdanovic laid the ball across goal but Hugo Colace could not find the finishing touch, with Ben Foster already beaten.
Half-Time: Barnsley 0 Manchester United 1
It was almost 2-0 to the visitors on 50 minutes as Michael Owen found space to latch on to Macheda`s through ball but he scuffed his shot wide of Steele`s right hand post as Stephen Foster closed in to make a challenge.
A superb move from Barnsley created yet another chance for the equaliser but Anderson dragged his low effort a yard or so wide of the post from just inside the box.
Manchester United extended their lead on 59 minutes through Michael Owen. The England striker picked up the ball following a Barnsley throw in, turned and ran at the defence and managed to nutmeg Darren Moore before racing past the stranded centre half and planting a superb deft finish past Luke Steele into the bottom right hand corner of the Barnsley net.
It was another cruel blow to Barnsley who had been holding their own against the cup holders despite going a goal down early on.
If Barnsley were going to get anything from this game then their chances were helped on 63 minutes when Adam Hammill made a routine clearance from the edge of the Barnsley box and Gary Neville followed through with a high challenge that caught the Liverpudlian`s standing leg. Chris Foy wasted no time in brandishing a red card for the veteran full back, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Iain Hume had entered the fray midway through the second half, replacing Jon Macken and could have grabbed a goal almost straight away. Adam Hammill broke down the left again and sent a right footed cross curling towards the back post. Hume managed to adjust his body to account for the deflection off the defender but his stretching header sailed wide of the near post as a stranded Ben Foster looked on.
It was all Barnsley now and further chances followed as Bogdanovic shot just wide after Iain Hume did well to cut the ball inside to the Maltese striker. Foster`s hand forced the shot out for another Barnsley corner but Anderson Da Silva`s free header went wide at the back post.
Adam Hammill carved himself an opening with fifteen minutes left on the clock, cutting in from the left wing but as he got into the Man Utd box, he hit a very weak effort straight into the grateful arms of Ben Foster.
Barnsley`s best effort came from substitute Jacob Butterfield. He received a great ball from the left and controlled with his right foot, knocked the ball into his path and hit a stinging effort towards goal, from which Ben Foster produced the best save of the match, reaching across to pluck the ball out of midair.
As the minutes slipped away, so did the Reds` chances, their closest effort coming from an Iain Hume free-kick, which the Canadian sent flying over the bar from 20 yards.
Full-Time: Barnsley 0 Manchester United 2
It was a spirited performance from Barnsley, who in the end just couldn`t convert their chances and unfortunately were undone by a free header in the first half and a touch of class in the second. Robins can now focus on trying to get the better of the other Fergie when the Reds travel to London Road to face Peterborough on Saturday.