Preston 0 Manchester U 2
Preston North End 0 Manchester United 2, Deepdale Stadium, English FA Cup Fourth Round, February 5, 1972. After suffering a narrow and unnecessary 2-1 defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns in the Football League, Manchester United beat Second Division Preston North End 2-0 at Deepdale in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Following a goalless first half, Alan Gowling notched up a double for the First Division giant as the striker found the back of the net twice in the second frame.
To reach the FA Cup Fourth Round, Preston North End had dispatched of Second Division side Bristol City, while Manchester United had knocked out Division One team Southampton after a replay to get there. In the last meeting between the two clubs, Manchester United had beaten Preston 3-1 in an FA Cup Quarter-Final Replay at Old Trafford on the 30th of March 1966 thanks to a brace either side of the break from Denis Law and a late goal by former Burnley winger John Connelly. Both Preston and Manchester United enjoyed their fair share of opportunities to score in the first half at Deepdale, but neither The Lilywhites nor The Reds managed to find the goal in front of a bumper home crowd of more than 37,000 spectators. The game livened up following the resumption of play, though, and the guests from Manchester eventually went into a fully deserved 1-0 lead courtesy of a close range goal from young prospect Alan Gowling in the 85th minute of the FA Cup Fourth Round encounter. And only a mere three minutes later in the contest, Gowling scored once again when he converted a flag-kick from The Law Man to make the final scoreline read 2-0 in favour of United.
In other FA Cup Fourth Round fixtures, Birmingham City edged out Ipswich Town 1-0 before a 40,000 crowd at St Andrew´s through a goal from Bob Latchford, Derby County thumped Notts County 6-0 at Baseball Ground, Portsmouth beat Swansea City 2-0 at Fratton Park, Spurs overcame Rotherham United 2-0 at White Hart Lane, Leicester City suffered a 2-0 loss against Orient at Filbert Street, Everton emerged 2-1 victors over Walsall at Goodison Park where Alan Whittle hit the winner for the hosts, Stoke City were held to a 2-2 draw by Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park, Fulham fell 2-0 against Huddersfield Town at Leeds Road, Liverpool and Leeds United played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield, Coventry City went down 1-0 to Hull City at Highfield Road, Middlesbrough earned themselves a 2-2 draw against Millwall at The Den, Reading were defeated 2-1 by Arsenal at Elm Park, Sunderland drew 1-1 to Cardiff City at Ninian Park, Hereford United managed a 0-0 draw with West Ham United at Edgar Street, while Chelsea trashed Bolton Wanderers by 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
In the fifth round of the tournament, Manchester United would now meet the winner between Middlesbrough and Millwall in a replay at Old Trafford. In other draws, Derby County would welcome Arsenal to Baseball Ground, Birmingham City would be locking horns with Portsmouth at St Andrew´s, Everton would face Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park, Huddersfield Town would play either West Ham United or Hereford United at Leeds Road, Cardiff City and either Leeds United or Liverpool would square off at Ninian Park, Hull City would take on either Stoke City or Tranmere Rovers away, and Chelsea would be entertained by London neighbours Orient at Brisbane Road. Preston North End Team: Alan Kelly, John McMahon, Dave Connor, Jim McNab, John Bird, Alan Spavin, Ricky Heppolette, Alex Spark, Hugh McIlmoyle, George Lyall, Gerry Ingram. Substitutes: None. Manchester United Team: Alex Stepney, Tommy O’Neil, Francis Burns, David Sadler, Steve James, Bobby Charlton, Willie Morgan, Alan Gowling, Denis Law, Brian Kidd, George Best. Substitutes: None.
Alan Gowling Quickfacts
A somewhat underrated forward, Alan Gowling amassed 18 goals in 71 Football League appearances for Manchester United before the Stockport born player was sold to newly relegated Second Division club Huddersfield Town for a bargain transfer fee of £65,000 at the start of the 1972-73 campaign.
Manchester United Ten Previous Matches
Ipswich Town 0 Manchester United 0
Southampton 1 Manchester United 1
Manchester United 4 Southampton 1
Manchester United 0 Chelsea 1
Manager: Frank O´Farrell