BARNSLEY, October 28- Manchester United will find themselves at the centre of a Football Association investigation after supporters went on the rampage during their side's League Cup win at Barnsley on Tuesday.
Goals from Danny Welbeck and Michael Owen guided United into the fifth round despite some spirited resistance from Mark Robins’s Championship side.
But United’s celebrations were tempered by the news that some of their 5,000 travelling fans trashed fast food kiosks in the North Stand of Oakwell and robbed cash from tills, forcing staff to flee in terror.
Police were called in to investigate but no arrests were made. Barnsley confirmed they had launched a full investigation into the incidents and would be submitting a report to FA officials.
The circumstances surrounding the trouble overshadowed what had been a terrific game. But United suffered more shame on the pitch as Gary Neville was sent off with a straight red card on 63 minutes for a dangerous tackle on Barnsley’s Adam Hammill.
He will now face a three match ban and is set to earn a stern rebuke from manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who for once admitted a referee had got a decision right after Chris Foy dismissed the England veteran.
One player in Ferguson’s good books, however was Owen following his third goal of the season.
Ferguson now faces a dilemma over whether or not to retain Owen in his starting line-up for the visit of Blackburn Rovers to Old Trafford on Saturday,
"I’ve seen the sending off, and Gary did follow through with the tackle and caught the player," said Ferguson.
"It was not high, just above the ankle, but in the present climate I would say that the referee was probably correct.
"It was a fantastic goal from Michael, he had such quick feet, it was a marvellous finish, just a great goal.
"Barnsley worked very hard and put in a lot of effort, and they had one or two chances after we went down to ten men.
"But overall I think we deserved to win the game and I’m delighted with the response from the players.
"We didn’t play as well as we could have, but we are through and I’m happy with that."
Owen will be hoping his performance caught the eye of England coach Fabio Capello ahead of next summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
"A start and a goal, you can’t ask for more than that?" commented Owen.
"Its how people judge me unfortunately. I started a game against Bolton, and was pretty pleased and thought I played pretty well and then I looked at the papers and was given a three or four.
"But in this game I played pretty average and scored a goal and I’ll probably get seven out of ten.
"I think I deserved a five in this game and seven or eight from the Bolton game.
"England is not something I go on the pitch thinking about, I just go out there trying to help the players. It’s up to the England manager what he thinks."
Robins said that there were two key differences between the teams.
"The difference between the teams was the finishing and self belief," said the former United striker.
"They had it and we didn’t. I thought we showed them too much respect but they are a side who, no matter who they put out, have got quality everywhere.
"The pleasing thing was we had 17 efforts on goal and you’d be hard pressed to find any side create that many chances against them.
"United had five efforts on goal and scored with two of them. That shows how important it is to take your chances when they come up.
"We were just lacking some belief, but there were plenty of positives and we just need to be more clinical."