Manchester United survived a first-half scare to book a place in the fourth round of the EFL Cup, eventually seeing off Northampton Town 3-1 on Wednesday evening.
Michael Carrick – making his first appearance of the season – got United off to the perfect start with an excellent strike early on, but the home side drew level before the break through Alex Revell’s penalty.
Ander Herrera put United back in front during the second half, hammering the ball in from substitute Marcus Rashford’s pass. The youngster then claimed a goal of his own, capitalising on a goalkeeping error to tap home with 15 minutes remaining.
As expected, Jose Mourinho made a number of changes to the United team ahead of the game, with the likes of Sergio Romero, Tim Fosu-Mensah and Memphis all named in the starting line-up.
Despite three successive defeats, the Reds looked determined to bounce back quickly and started positively, as captain Wayne Rooney – spearheading the attack at Sixfields – tested goalkeeper Adam Smith with a low effort inside two minutes.
The Reds then had a superb chance to take the lead just five minutes later, when Ashley Young found Rooney unmarked in the area after great work from Memphis, but the England international could only put his attempt wide.
Roared on by a vocal travelling support, United soon made the early pressure count, however. Mourinho’s men were afforded a rare opportunity to score from a free-kick inside the area on 17 minutes when Smith handled a back-pass, and Rooney’s strike deflected into the path of Carrick, who found the corner expertly from the edge of the area.
United were then denied a second on the half-hour mark, when Fosu-Mensah steamed into the box to head Morgan Schneiderlin’s diagonal ball against the bar. Rooney was there to tap home the rebound, but saw his effort ruled out for offside.