A stunning late strike from Jesse Lingard helped Manchester United to beat Derby 2-0 in their FA Cup third-round tie at Old Trafford.
The in-form Championship side looked set to hold out but Lingard’s eighth goal in 10 games in the 83rd minute put United ahead and Romelu Lukaku’s stoppage-time goal sealed it.
It had looked like being a frustrating night for Jose Mourinho’s team as Marcus Rashford hit the post twice and Scott Carson pulled off a series of fine saves for Derby.
But United deserved their win despite the visitors’ brave efforts to keep them out and go into the fourth round with hopes of lifting the trophy they last won in 2016.
Man Utd: Romero (6); Lindelof (6), Smalling (6), Blind (6), Shaw (6); Herrera (6), Pogba (7); Mata (7), Lingard (8), Mkhitaryan (6); Rashford (6).
Subs:Fellaini (6), Lukaku (7), Martial (6).
Derby:Carson (8); Wisdom (6), Keogh (7), Pearce (6), Olsson (7); Thorne (6), Huddlestone (6); Weimann (6), Russell (7), Lawrence (7); Winnall (6).
Subs: Bennett (6), Vydra (6).
Man of the match: Jesse Lingard
The home side began brightly and almost all of the attacking players tried their luck in the opening stages, Ander Herrera heading wide and Juan Mata forcing a good save from Carson.
The breakthrough really should have come 10 minutes before the interval when Rashford headed Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s right-wing cross against the post from close range.
Mkhitaryan’s form remains a concern, surrendering possession sloppily at times, and he was replaced by Lukaku at the interval. By that point, Paul Pogba had tested Carson with another free-kick that the goalkeeper did well to tip wide.
Derby were only an intermittent threat on the counter-attack through the powerful running of former United man Tom Lawrence but they got to the break with hopes of a replay intact.
That looked likely when Rashford’s right-footed shot on the angle struck the foot of the post and bounced clear with 20 minutes remaining before Pogba missed another good chance soon after.
Jose Mourinho made five changes to the team that beat Everton with David de Gea among those rested, but it was still a strong United line-up with the in-form Jesse Lingard playing and Marcus Rashford up front. Romelu Lukaku returned to the bench after injury.
Gary Rowett retained five of the starting line-up that drew against Sheffield United with captain Richard Keogh expected to hold things together. Sam Winnall was recalled up front having scored twice in Derby’s previous away game against Ipswich.
But Lingard, in the form of his life, broke the deadlock against the club he was on loan at in 2015 by finding the far corner from just outside the box to the delight of the Old Trafford crowd.
There was still time for Lukaku to combine brilliantly on the break with fellow substitute Anthony Martial and mark his return to the squad with a goal, beating Carson with his right foot.
It was cruel on Derby but United deserved their place in the fourth round.