Manchester United played out a goalless draw away at Wolverhampton Wanderers in their FA Cup third round encounter at Molineux on Saturday. Despite an entertaining game, neither side had the fortune to find a winner, and the game will now be replayed at Old Trafford.
The match got off to a lively start, but the first half delivered only one clear-cut goalscoring opportunity — indeed, only the single shot on target. The chance fell to Wolves wing-back Matt Doherty, unmarked at the back post when Leander Dendoncker flicked a corner his way, though he was denied on the volley by a strong Sergio Romero arm.
At the other end, keeper John Ruddy might have erected a deckchair. United struggled to turn their possession into scoring chances, and vainly appealed for a penalty when Brandon Williams tangoed with Dendocker in the Wolves penalty area on the half-hour. Daniel James might’ve done better when he skipped into the box six minutes later, but he scuffed his shot wide of the far post.
Wolves stirred at the start of the second half, with Pedro Neto bursting forward and prodding at Romero within six minutes. Yet neither side were able to apply sustained pressure, and the next best opportunity came from a set-piece, when Juan Mata deceived Ruddy with a free-kick that flashed just wide of the top-left corner. It was an extremely fitful affair, with neither side looking particularly bothered about scoring a winner.
With 20 minutes left, a tired Ole Gunnar Solskjær brought out the big guns. Marcus Rashford and Fred were introduced, and almost immediately linked up to carve out the very best chance of the game. Fred offloaded to Mason Greenwood, who slid the ball out wide for a free Rashford in the inside-left position. His curler might have nestled inside the far post, were it not for a vital intervention from Wolves defender Conor Coady, whose sliding tackle sent the ball into a loopy arc that cracked off the crossbar.
Wolves soon hit back, and thought they’d opened the scoring in the final quarter-hour. Doherty wheeled away in celebration after heading a perfect Jonny cross home, though replays showed the final touch to have come off his arm, and the goal was correctly chalked off. Minutes later Raúl Jiménez — recently touted as a potential United target — rattled the post from an impossibly tight angle, practically on the byline.
Despite the flurry of late chances, no one could find a winner. A replay is the result — and not an ideal one, particularly hot on the heels of festive fixture congestion.