Manchester United 3 Cambridge United 0

The 'buzz' at Cambridge United for the past two weeks had mainly been about the forthcoming clash with Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round. For many of the thousands of fans who trekked north to follow their club to Old Trafford for their deserved replay, it was a moment to savour, whatever the ultimate outcome. As many before them have found out though, the Theatre of Dreams can be an unforgiving place for away sides, as memories of Best, Charlton and Giggs are rekindled and the Red Devils swarm all over your team.

That never quite happened last night in truth, but a 3-0 score line was a fair reflection of the comfort that the home side were able to enjoy for much of the game. Indeed, but for a slight stumble by the League Two side's Tom Elliott inside the first minute, when he looked to capitalise on an error by Daley Blind, Cambridge could have taken a shock lead. Instead, the striker's firm shot grazed the outside of the post and the chance was lost.

Van Gaal's men seemed to put aside their manager's belief that everything was against them for this tie, as they dominated the first-half and were two goals to the good by the 32nd minute mark. Their opener on 25 minutes came from a hanging Angel Di Maria cross that Marouane Fellaini headed down, allowing Juan Mata to impudently flick his shot home with the outside of his left foot from close range.

That advantage was strengthened when Robin van Persie clipped a delightful cross into the area for Marcos Rojo to head powerfully home. Two goals ahead, the tie was effectively settled, yet no more goals were to come before the break.

It was surprising that it took until the 73rd minute for all hope of an unlikely comeback to be extinguished, when substitute James Wilson's left -foot shot seemed to bounce in front of the keeper and into the net for a slightly soft third for the home team.

Cambridge finished the stronger as Cameron McGeehan almost gave them a special moment near the end, but his shot went wide of goal. It typified their night, plenty of endeavour but perhaps (as expected) a fraction below the ability and power in the home side's ranks.

Rooney continued to chance his arm as the match wore on, with several shots from the England captain passing narrowly wide of the goal. His mini-goal domestic drought continues, but no matter for his team on the night, as they move on to a potentially tricky fifth-round away clash with near neighbours Preston North End.