'Little Pea' shooter sends United through

Southampton 1 Manchester United 2: Mexican on target after Giggs and Nani inspire comeback by Ferguson's side

Knocked out of the FA Cup last season by a League One side, Leeds United, Manchester United were in danger of a similar embarrassment here last night, before Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez – aka "Little Pea" – finally pulled rank. Richard Chaplow, who once knocked Liverpool out of the Cup in his Burnley days, scored just before half-time and Southampton's deserved lead was held until almost midway through the second period.All in all Nigel Adkins' side gave a fine account of themselves, even if they tired towards the end.

Chaplow, Lee Barnard and Rickie Lambert formed an effective trio, the one disappointment for Southampton being that the highlyregarded Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – son of the former Stoke and England winger Mark – was unable to force his way into the game. Arsenal and United are believed to be rivals for his signature, which like those of Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale, would cost a good few million pounds. He found John O'Shea in the first half and the substitute Wes Brown in the second, hard nuts to crack. "He's got a great future but we're not envisaging selling him," Adkins said before hurrying off for a drink with Sir Alex Ferguson, anticipating a question or two about his 17-year-old prodigy.

As for the game, Adkins, who was the club's fifth manager in two years when he joined in September, said: "We were pleased to go in one-up and wanted to pass the football. For the second goal it was maybe our downfall that we passed it in the wrong area." He seemed more concerned with "a very important game against Exeter City on Tuesday".

Defeat, or even a draw, would not have reflected well on United's selection policy or system, even if many of their reserves would walk into other Premier League teams. Memories of how comfortable they had been in their 3-0 romp here in the Cup two years ago – admittedly against 10 men – may have influenced Ferguson in starting without Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov, Ryan Giggs and Nani, all of whom were huddled in the dug-out. Edwin van der Sar and a complete back-line of Rafael da Silva, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra did not even make it that far as Ferguson made eight changes from the team that had staged a comeback at Blackpool in midweek.

He put his faith in an unexpected system featuring Owen behind the two main strikers, Hernandez and, less predictably, Gabriel Obertan. The Danish international Anders Lindegaard made his debut in goal and had barely touched the ball before having to pick it out of his net from Dan Harding's shot, relieved to see an assistant referee's flag raised.

Before the end of a lively first half there were other promising efforts from the home side, and then a goal. When Guly do Prado headed too high from Danny Butterfield's cross in the 43rd minute, it seemed as if a glorious chance to lead at the interval had been frittered away. But a minute later, Barnard forced the ball forward for Chaplow and the shot flew inside Lindegaard's near post.

In between times Owen had almost opened the scoring with a freak effort.Sent down the flank by O'Shea, he aimed what was intended to be a cross for Hernandez that instead hit the inside of the far post.

Doubtless on the end of an earbashing at half-time, United did not immediately improve and before the hour mark an unhappy Ferguson sent on the cavalry in the form of Giggs and Nani. So Rooney and Berbatov were left to shiver while Owen dug United out of a hole.

In the 65th minute, Obertan deceived his marker on the right and as United appealed for handball from the cross, Owen was perfectly placed to head in. Southampton were unable to test Lindegaard again and shortly afterwards United were ahead with a second goal in 10 minutes. Owen stole possession from the substitute Ryan Dickson and supplied Giggs for a pass to Hernandez, who provided the type of clever finish for which he has become renowned. Although falling to his left he was able to slip the ball just wide enough of the goalkeeper to spare his team's blushes.

Ferguson admitted it had been a mistake to play without United's usual width. "I meddled with the system and it wasn't working," he said. "Their goal if anything got us playing." Which was just as well.

Attendance: 28,792

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Man of the match: Scholes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing