Manchester United survived a scare before sealing their place in the fourth round of the EFL Cup with a 3-1 win at Northampton Town.
Wayne Rooney missed a presentable opening in the first few minutes as the Premier League side started the match at Sixfields brightly.
However, United took the lead in the 18th minute when, after Rooney’s free-kick, which was awarded when Cobblers goalkeeper Adam Smith had inexplicably picked up a back-pass, had hit the wall, Michael Carrick was on hand to fire the rebound home on his first competitive start of the campaign.
Just past the half-hour mark Rooney had the ball in the net again but the former Everton star was flagged offside after Timothy Fosu-Mensah had headed against the bar.
Northampton went close to an equaliser five minutes before the interval when Kenji Gorre’s shot hit the top of the crossbar but they did draw level in the 43rd minute when Alex Revell scored from the penalty spot after Danny Blind had brought down Sam Hoskins inside the area.
In the second half Ander Herrera hit the post with a fine 20-yard strike before substitute Marcus Rashford set up the same player who fired Jose Mourinho’s side ahead with a low effort from the edge of the box.
Rashford made the tie safe when he smashed the ball into an empty net after the hapless Smith had failed to deal with a long ball forward.