Manchester United scored twice in the last 10 minutes to knock Derby County out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford on Friday night.
The Rams performed admirably but United’s quality told in the end, with Jesse Lingard grabbing the crucial opener with six minutes left before Romelu Lukaku secured the victory in the 90th minute.
Predictably, United dominated the ball – and the chances – early on, with Paul Pogba looking most likely to create something for Jose Mourinho’s side, with one effort saved comfortably by Scott Carson before another brushed the side-netting on the way behind.
The Rams’ No.1 had to be at his best midway through the half to keep out Juan Mata’s free-kick, before Derby started to create some chances of their own.
Marcus Olsson showed great energy to push forward in the first period and he nearly grabbed the opener with a looping header, but Sergio Romero, at full stretch, kept it out.
Marcus Rashford then headed against the post from inside the six-yard area, before Carson produced another stunning save to keep out Pogba’s long-range free-kick.
Tom Huddlestone is still looking for his first Derby goal and only a deflection kept him out just after the break with Romero stranded.
Mourinho introduced Lukaku and Anthony Martial to try and change the game, but it was Rashford who continued to threaten and he hit the post for the second time with a fierce drive from the right-hand side.
United’s really should have been in front with 13 minutes to go, when Lingard forced another save from Carson, before Pogba inexplicably placed his shot wide with the Derby ‘keeper still on the deck.
The in-form Lingard made the difference on 84 minutes though, as he exchanged passes with Lukaku before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top corner.
The hosts’ path to the Fourth Round was sealed in the final minute, as Lukaku broke before exchanging passes with Martial, before the Belgian netted to end any hope for the Rams.
Manchester United: Romero; Lindelof. Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Pogba, Herrera; Mkhitaryan (Lukaku, HT), Mata (Martial, 67’), Lingard; Rashford (Fellaini, 79’).
Substitutes not used: Pereira, Darmian, Rojo, McTominay.
Derby County: Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Pearce, Olsson; Russell, Huddlestone, Thorne; Russell (Hanson, 77’), Lawrence (Bennett, 81’), Weimann; Winnall (Vydra, 67’).
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Baird, Martin, Nugent.
Lingard has been in sensational form of late and he provided another key moment for United with the clock ticking down.
His interplay with Lukaku was neat, but the finish was absolutely unstoppable, with the excellent Carson unable to make another miraculous save.
Lawrence returned to his former club and, in the No.10 role, he displayed the ability that persuaded then manager Ryan Giggs to hand his fellow Welshman a start at the end of the 2013/14 season.
He drove at the United backline time and time again, and he was only prevented from opening the scoring by a good save from Romero.
The Rams are back in Sky Bet Championship action on Saturday 13th January, when they travel to St Andrew’s to take on Rowett’s former club, Birmingham City.
Bristol City are the next visitors to Pride Park Stadium on Friday 19th January, with the fixture between the two promotion contenders live on Sky.