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Rediff.com  » Sports » Rooney wins it for Manchester United

Rooney wins it for Manchester United

January 28, 2007 13:26 IST

Wayne Rooney came off the bench to give Manchester United a 2-1 win over Portsmouth while third division Bristol City stormed back to draw 2-2 with Premier League Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.

Rooney, who replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the hour mark, finished off a neat Ryan Giggs pass in the 77th minute and then chipped a spectacular second in the 83rd.

Portsmouth got an 87th minute consolation goal when a shot by Portuguese midfielder Pedro Mendes, who had earlier sparked controversy with a goalmouth clearance, took a deflection off substitute striker Nwankwo Kanu and hit the net.

Boro's draw, after leading 2-0 at halftime, was a rare surprise in Saturday's action.

Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn Rovers, Fulham and Reading eased through after top-flight class proved too much for second division opponents, while Watford beat West Ham United 1-0 in the all-Premier League clash at Upton Park.

Spurs beat Southend 3-1, Matt Derbyshire scored two and made another as Blackburn Rovers trounced Luton Town 4-0, on-loan striker Vincenzo Montella engineered Fulham's 3-0 win over Stoke City and Reading were 3-2 winners at Birmingham City.

The controversy was sparked at Old Trafford in the 12th minute when a header by United's Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic seemed to cross the line before being hooked back out by Mendes.

The irony of the clearance will not have been lost on United fans.

In January 2005, Mendes, then at Spurs, hit a stunning shot from around the halfway line, the ball was spilt by Roy Carroll and crossed a metre over the line -- before being scooper back by the then United keeper.

That league game at Old Trafford finished 0-0, triggering one of the biggest talking points of the season.

This time, United were out of luck and their fortune did not improve when a superb volley by on-loan Swedish striker Henrik Larsson was narrowly ruled out for offside.

HAPPY FERGUSON

United's domination was finally rewarded with Rooney's double, the second strike a fantastic chip by the England striker from outside the area that left keeper David James stranded.

United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports: "I'm just glad to win the game because it would have been a real kick in the teeth if we had lost that -- given the fact that we had two goals disallowed."

It was a very different affair at Ashton Gate, where Middlesbrough could easily have made a shock exit.

Boro, 2-0 up at the break through Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Malcolm Christie, looked to be cruising until Richard Keogh pulled one back in the 53rd minute and midfielder Scott Murray levelled six minutes later.

City manager Gary Johnson told Sky Sports: "We came back from the dead...(but) the boys are a bit disappointed that we haven't nicked it in the end.

"We played okay in the first half without creating winning football, as we say, but we played that winning football in the second half and caused a real problem."

Boro manager Gareth Southgate said: "The players are very disappointed. Bristol punished us, they deserved a draw -- it's their day today. But we live to fight another day...it's a good lesson for us."

Four second division clubs reached Monday's fifth-round draw after wins for Plymouth Argyle, Preston North End, Ipswich Town and Derby County. Norwich City were held 1-1 by third division Blackpool.

Fourth round action continues on Sunday with four ties, including Chelsea against Nottingham Forest and Arsenal at home to Bolton Wanderers.