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5 Manchester United FA Cup stinkers to give Cambridge confidence

| 22.01.2015

To say that Manchester United have struggled to maintain their high standards since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson is something of an understatement but the Red Devils are still expected to make light work of Cambridge this week.

The Premier League top-four hopefuls travel to the Abbey Stadium to take on the League Two outfit and Louis van Gaal’s men are priced as the 1/5 favourites to progress to the next round.

However, the 12/1 that says the U’s can cause an upset – or the 14/5 on them earning at least a draw – should not be disregarded out of hand as these five FA Cup blunders from the 11-time winners show.

1984 – AFC Bournemouth 2-0 Manchester United

Harry Redknapp’s Third Division Cherries welcomed holders United to Dean Court in January 1984 with Ron Atkinson’s side expected to record a comfortable win.

Atkinson put out a strong side featuring Bryan Robson, Ray Wilkins, Norman Whiteside and Frank Stapleton but it wasn’t enough!

Milton Graham and Ian Thompson – the latter having only turned professional earlier that season – were Bournemouth’s heroes on the day, scoring the goals to record a 2-0 victory that sent shockwaves through English football and put Redknapp on the map.

1998 – Barnsley 3-2 Manchester United

Barnsley may have been a top flight side at the time but there was still a huge gulf between the Tykes and United, who had won the trophy as recently as 1996.

Danny Wilson had guided his side to the Premiership the previous year but having lost 7-0 to United earlier in the season they weren’t expected to trouble the Red Devils at Oakwell.

Barnsley got off to a flier, however, with John Hendrie and Scott Jones putting the hosts 2-0 up before the break. Substitute Teddy Sheringham put United back in it before Jones restored the two-goal lead.

Andy Cole netted in the 81st minute but Wilson’s side held on for a famous victory to reach the quarter finals.

2005 – Manchester United 0-0 Exeter

Seeing holders United drawn out of the pot was a dream come true for then-Conference National side Exeter.

Alex Inglethorpe’s squad expected nothing more than a day out at Old Trafford so to earn a replay and keep a clean sheet was unthinkable.

The hosts may have rested some big names for the match but with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Tim Howard, Gerard Pique, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes all featuring the Exeter players took home some serious bragging rights.

2006 – Burton Albion 0-0 Manchester United

Few names are harder to live up to in football management than Clough but Nigel – son of Brian – certainly showed his credentials with this impressive draw.

United used Ronaldo, Rooney, Saha, Solskjaer and Rossi in an attempt to break down the non-league outfit but to no avail.

They may have been hammered 5-0 in the Old Trafford replay but the Albion squad will still be dining out on that match.

2010 – Manchester United 0-1 Leeds United

With Leeds wallowing in League One at the time the bitter rivalry between the two clubs had subsided somewhat and perhaps lulled the Red Devils into a false sense of security.

Ferguson fielded a weakened team but the likes of Rooney, Berbatov, Welbeck, Giggs, Valencia and Owen should have had enough to break down the Leeds defence.

They couldn’t, however, and Jermaine Beckford’s 19th-minute strike silenced the Stretford End and sent the Lilywhites through.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.