Shrewsbury Town vs. Manchester United: Score, Reaction for 2016 FA Cup 5th Round

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2016

Manchester United players celebrate after Manchester United’s Juan Mata, right, scored during the English FA Cup fifth round soccer match between Shrewsbury Town and Manchester United at Greenhous Meadow stadium in Shrewsbury, England, Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Manchester United waltzed past Shrewsbury Town in the fifth round of the FA Cup, winning 3-0 at Greenhous Meadow on Monday. 

First-half goals from Chris Smalling and Juan Mata gave United a convincing advantage at half-time, and Jesse Lingard's smart finish killed the contest on the hour mark.   

The Red Devils dominated the first half as they retained possession and drove forward, but Shrewsbury struggled to stamp their mark on the tie despite a more spirited second half. 

Goalkeeper David De Gea was ruled out after being injured in the warm-up against FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League, as Sergio Romero once again deputised for the visitorsGuillermo Varela and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson were both reinstalled at full-back after missing the match against the Danish champions. 

United manager Louis van Gaal was under severe pressure before the cup game after a dismal run of form from his team, and BBC Sport captured his arrival on social media:

The Shrews looked impotent in the first half, as the Old Trafford giants dominated without an overt threat.

United were permanently camped in the opposition final third, but there was a lack of killer instinct from the forward line.

However, Mata and Ander Herrera gave more mobile performances than in recent weeks, when the Spanish midfielders have flattered to deceive. 

TalkSport's Stan Collymore felt the hosts paid too much respect to their illustrious opponents:

Bleacher Report UK was not impressed with the first half-hour of football:

SHREWSBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Chris Smalling of Manchester United shoots past Nat Knight-Percival of Shrewsbury Town to score their first goal during the Emirates FA Cup fifth round match between Shrewsbury Town and Manchester United at Greenhous Me
Michael Regan/Getty Images

United finally took the lead nine minutes before the break, as Smalling relieved the pressure with an unlikely strike. 

Morgan Schneiderlin won the ball in the air from a hopeful chip forward, and his header fell to the feet of Smalling in the penalty area.

The centre-back put his foot through the ball and found the far corner of the net as the ball deflected past 'keeper Jayson Leutwiler. 

BT Sport presenter Gary Lineker quipped as Van Gaal's side scored:

SHREWSBURY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22 :  Juan Mata of Manchester United scores to make it 0-2 during the Emirates FA Cup match between Shrewsbury Town and Manchester United at New Meadow on February 22, 2016 in Shrewsbury, England.  (Photo by Catherine Ivill
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

United eased their manager's nerves further in stoppage time at the end of the first half, as Mata curled home a free-kick beyond Leutwiler.

The visitors appeared to have three players offside as Mata's effort hit the net, but the officials allowed the goal to stand as they adjudged the Red Devils men to not be affecting play. 

WhoScored.com highlighted United's statistical dominance at half-time and provided player ratings:

United looked fresh and re-energised at the start of the second half, clearly enthused by their goals after a sustained period of attacking.  

However, the Shrews also appeared motivated to haul themselves back into the match as the game was stretched. 

The pace of the tie was more vital as both teams attacked, and United constantly threatened to score a third.

Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay began to isolate their markers and regularly find space in the channels. 

Rui Vieira/Associated Press

United booked their place in the next round with a sweeping break on the hour mark, as Mata and Herrera combined to feed in Lingard.

The attacker took his shot on the half-volley and put the game to bed. 

The goal was shared on Twitter:

Relief poured forth from the travelling fans, who had been in fine voice during the contest, and Van Gaal managed a smile from his seat on the bench as supporters sang, "We'll support you ever more." 

Shrewsbury pushed forward in the final 10 minutes as United were reduced to 10 men after an injury forced off third substitute Will Keane only minutes after he came on.

The visitors comfortably made it to full-time with the game done and dusted, giving the United fans a satisfying night after a disappointing run of results.    

United looked business-like on Monday night after an abject performance in Denmark, and they can now focus on their Europa League second-leg match on Thursday with a professional win under their belt.   

 

Post-Match Reaction

Van Gaal was content with the result at the end of the match, and he explained the controversial free-kick routine that saw Mata score United's second, per BT Sport Football:

United advance to the quarter-final stage of the FA Cup and will host West Ham United at Old Trafford.