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Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Sunday, 4 January 2009

Southampton 0-3 Man Utd

By Phil McNulty

Danny Welbeck is mobbed after putting Man Utd ahead
Danny Welbeck is mobbed after putting Man Utd ahead

Manchester United sealed an FA Cup fourth round date against Spurs with an easy win against 10-man Southampton.

Danny Welbeck headed United in front in the 20th minute after John O'Shea's header was turned on to the bar by Southampton keeper Kelvin Davis.

Southampton's Matt Paterson then saw red for a wild lunge on Nemanja Vidic.

Nani scored from the spot after 48 minutes when referee Mike Riley harshly ruled David McGoldrick had handled, and Darron Gibson slammed home a third.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side will now face another date with their FA Cup nemesis Harry Redknapp, who ended their hopes in this competition at the quarter-final stage last year with eventual winners Portsmouth.

Spurs boss Redknapp also has FA Cup victories against United to his credit with Bournemouth and West Ham United.

For Southampton, the whole day was an education for their emerging youngsters - although they also felt they were on the wrong end of several crucial refereeing decisions.

United left Wayne Rooney on the bench and rested Cristiano Ronaldo, but their absence did little to aid Southampton's cause as the visitors dominated.

Saints' keeper Davis was outstanding in the early stages, saving well from Nani and Anderson before Welbeck broke the deadlock after 20 minutes.

Davis did superbly to turn O'Shea's header on to the bar from Nani's corner, but Welbeck was lurking to complete the simplest of finishes.

Michael Carrick almost took advantage of a brilliant flick from Dimitar Berbatov to add a second after 27 minutes, only for Chris Perry's recovering tackle to stop what looked a certain goal.

Southampton's fans were angered six minutes later when Jonny Evans hauled down McGoldrick. The home fans were baying for a red card, but referee Riley ruled that there were covering defenders and was content with a booking.

There was no reprieve for Paterson two minutes later when he caught Vidic with a studs-up lunge near the half-way line. The home supporters vented their fury at Riley, but they had no serious complaint and the dismissal was deserved.

United had created a series of openings, and almost doubled their lead in the closing seconds of the half when Davis stuck out a foot to deny the promising Welbeck.

Riley was the most unpopular figure inside St Mary's - and his stock fell even further when he awarded United a highly-debatable penalty three minutes after the break.

McGoldrick raised his arms as he defended Nani's free-kick, but the ball appeared to strike the back of his head rather than his hand.

Southampton protested furiously, this time with reason, but Nani remained calm to send Davis the wrong way from the spot.

Ryan Smith then missed Southampton's best chance when he screwed horribly off target after a fine run.

Carrick and substitute Rooney were off target before substitute Gibson rounded off the victory with a third nine minutes from time.

Rooney was the creator with a display of pace and power to set up Gibson for an emphatic finish.

Southampton coach Jan Poortvliet:
"I have to see the decisions myself, but I think it was not a penalty, not a red card and the first goal was offside.

"The referee's assistant should see it because he is on the same line as the player."

He added: "They told me Matt Paterson went with two feet for the sending off. It was one foot and it was on the ball. It changed the game because you are always having to come back.

"I think the penalty was cheap. The referee was in the best position. I think the referees in England are the best in the world. But our side, we never get decisions like that."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:
"Southampton are a very young team so you would expect us to win and we could have done it more comfortably, but 3-0 is a satisfactory score.

"Danny Welbeck did fine. He has got a good temperament and personality and he enjoys playing. He is still growing, so there are periods when he gets tired, but the potential is definitely there."

Southampton: Davis, James, Perry, Lancashire, Skacel, Smith (Holmes 69), McGoldrick, Gillett (Schneiderlin 56), Surman, Gobern (McLaggon 56), Paterson.
Subs Not Used: Forecast, Wright-Phillips, Euell, Molyneux.

Sent Off: Paterson (37).

Booked: Skacel, James.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Evans, Vidic, O'Shea, Nani, Anderson, Carrick (Gibson 56), Giggs (Possebon 56), Welbeck (Rooney 63), Berbatov.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Park, Rafael Da Silva, Fletcher.

Booked: Evans, O'Shea.

Goals: Welbeck 20, Nani 48 pen, Gibson 81.

Att: 31,901

Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov 7.79 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Saints slump exposes crisis
05 Jan 09 |  Southampton
FA Cup photos
04 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
FA Cup photos
03 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
FA Cup fourth round draw
04 Jan 09 |  FA Cup
When Saints shocked Man Utd
02 Jan 09 |  FA Cup

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