Manchester United made surprisingly light work of Shrewsbury Town in their FA Cup fifth round clash at New Meadow on Monday. Goals from Chris Smalling, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard ensured a comprehensive 3-0 victory.
United dominated from the off, though initially their only attempts on goal were harmless long-range hit-and-hopes. But as the clock ticked on, the Reds ramped up the pressure, and soon there was only one team in the game.
By the time United eventually broke the deadlock, Shrewsbury had already had to rely on a goalline clearance and a couple of saves from their goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler to keep the game scoreless.
The opener came with just over five minutes of the half left, when Smalling risked altitude sickness lurking on the edge of the hosts' penalty area. He took receipt of a scrappy Schneiderlin header, before stabbing a volley into the ground and, rather fortuitously, the bottom corner.
United doubled their advantage and all but killed the game off in stoppage time at the end of the second half, with Mata curling the ball beyond Leutwiler and into the back of the net. Vain offside appeals (for obstruction) went unheeded, and United finished the half having had almost eight-tenths of the the possession.
Shrewsbury showed admirable fight early in the second half, though before long United had added a third. A quick counter-attack culminated in Ander Herrera chipping a perfect cross for Lingard to poke home at the back post. If the game wasn't over before, it certainly was now.
Louis van Gaal used the opportunity to give a few youngsters a run in the first team: full-back Joe Riley, midfielder Andreas Pereira and striker Will Keane all appeared in the second half (though the latter unfortunately picked up a groin injury and had to be quickly withdrawn).
However, it was too little, too late for them to make a serious impression, and Shrewsbury could've pulled a goal back in a much improved second half display. As it was, United hung on, sealing a comfortable win.