After getting thumped by Manchester City at the weekend, and having failed to beat either Chelsea or Liverpool in the league, this was a must-win game for David Moyes’s side.
And Javier Hernandez, forgotten for much of the season, was the Unite hero, wriggling free from Jose Enrique to touch home Wayne Rooney’s corner early in the second half,
The biggest shock in the competition so far this year came at St. Andrew’s, where Birmingham City stunned holders Swansea City 3-1 win.
Swansea wasted chance after chance in the first half that wastefulness came back to haunt them when Dan Burn headed home his first goal for the club in the 56th minute, before Matt Green added a second from close range soon after.
Inspired by winger Chris Burke, who played his part in all three goals, Tom Adeyemi also got in on the act with his maiden goal late on – with Bony netting a consolation with virtually the last touch.
Papiss Cisse’s first goal since April helped ease Newcastle to a 2-0 victory over Leeds. Cisse ended a goal drought dating back to 11 April when scored in the 31st minute.
This game went back and forth and remained in the balance until deep into the second half when strike partner Yoan Gouffran blasted home to wrap up a 2-0 win over the Championship side.
Elsewhere, Stephen Ireland marked his first Stoke start with a goal at Tranmere. One of seven changes made by manager Mark Hughes, the on-loan Aston Villa midfielder put them ahead in the 23rd minute at Prenton Park. Peter Crouch, making his first start of the season, scored in stoppage time to seal a 2-0 victory which was somewhat harsh on the hosts.
It took penalties to decide the final third round tie, with Arsenal eventually overcoming West Brom at The Hawthorns.
Arsenal took the lead through Thomas Eisfeld in the second half, slotting in what was his first Gunners goal on his maiden start. However, West Brom equalised in the 71st minute through Saido Berahino to take the game into extra time and eventually penalties.
In the shoot-out, West Brom initially had the advantage after Luke Daniels saved Serge Gnabry’s effort, but misses from Craig Dawson and Morgan Amalfitano allowed Nacho Monreal to seal victory for the away side.