Sep 21, 2016 at 7.45pm UK at ​Sixfields
NorthamptonNorthampton Town
1-3
Man UtdManchester United
Revell (42' pen.)
McCourt (47'), Potter (90')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Carrick (17'), Herrera (68'), Rashford (75')
Blind (73')

Result: Manchester United dig deep to overcome Northampton Town at Sixfields

Ander Herrera celebrates scoring during the Europa League game between Manchester United and FC Midtjylland on February 25, 2016
© Getty Images
Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford are all on target to help Manchester United into the fourth round of the EFL Cup at the expense of Northampton Town.

Manchester United were given a scare by Northampton Town but were able to get over the line as they claimed a 3-1 win in the third round of the EFL Cup this evening.

The Red Devils were pegged back at the end of the first half by their League One opponents, although second-half goals from Ander Herrera and sub Marcus Rashford made sure of a place in the hat for the next round.

Victory for the Red Devils puts an end to their three-game losing run in all competitions and eases the pressure on Jose Mourinho, yet it was not all plain sailing for the Portuguese on what was a tricky evening at times at Sixfields.

A big night for Wayne Rooney, fielded in his old position as the out-and-out striker, began with the skipper taking just a couple of minutes to send a shot down the middle for Adam Smith to collect.

The Englishman, one of just two players to retain his place in the side along with Chris Smalling, saw an even bigger chance come and go soon after when turning Ashley Young's cross wide of the target from a few yards out.

It was Michael Carrick who was pulling the strings for United on his first competitive start under Mourinho, and he was rewarded with a goal 17 minutes in after an indirect free kick 15 yards out fell nicely into his path.

Northampton's players were unable to push out after forming a big wall to keep out Rooney's initial attempt, leaving Carrick with an opportunity to fire the ball home from the edge of the opposition box, which he duly took.

The visitors were continuing to dominate things in terms of possession, even coming close to a second when Rooney tapped home after seeing Timothy Fosu-Mensah's back-post header come off the bar, only for the offside flag to go up.

Town had struggled to really get going for large parts of the first half, but they grew more and more into things and almost levelled up as only a slight Sergio Romero touch on Kenji Gorre's shot prevented the former United prospect from finding the net, with the ball skimming the bar on its way over.

Northampton did find a way through prior to the interval, however - Alex Revell converting from the penalty spot after Daley Blind brought down Sam Hoskins inside the box from a rare home attack.

United were unable to find any real momentum in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, which led to Mourinho taking drastic attacking action as he brought on both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rashford from the bench.

Despite the array of forward options on the pitch for the Red Devils it was left to Herrera to galvanise his side, with his shot from 20 yards out coming back off the upright on the hour in a sign of things to come.

Momentum was still proving hard to come by for a low-on-confidence United, but Northampton failed to learn their lesson 68 minutes in as Herrera this time picked out the bottom corner when teed up by Rashford.

Rashford wrapped up the win for his side with a fourth of the night 15 minutes from time, chasing down a ball-to-nothing over the top which Smith horribly swiped at without making contact, allowing Rashford to walk the ball to the line before hammering into the back of the net in front of the travelling supporters.

United were able to comfortably see out the remainder of the match to stretch their unbeaten run against the Cobblers to a fifth game, while at the same time ending their own recent barren run of form.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic FINALLY in a Manchester United shirt on August 27, 2016
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1Manchester CityMan City66001851318
2Tottenham HotspurSpurs6420103714
3Arsenal6411157813
4Liverpool6411169713
5Everton6411104613
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd6402127512
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18West Ham UnitedWest Ham6105716-93
19Stoke CityStoke6024415-112
20Sunderland6015512-71