But, to their credit, Town rallied and traded goal attempts with their illustrious opponents for a spell - even if Ben Amos was only worked by one effort, from top scorer Danny Hylton. As if to emphasis the obvious gulf in quality, Owen doubled the lead to quieten the capacity crowd. After picking out Berbatov with a raking pass, the number seven showed his thirst for goals by arriving in the box on cue to convert the Bulgarian's inviting assist, despite Worner getting a touch to the shot.
The second half started in a similar vein as Valencia collected a Cleverley pass and hit a stunning drive with whip and bend that crashed high into the net over Worner's despairing dive. Berbatov was working harder than anybody and, after feeling aggrieved when having another penalty appeal waved away, as Aaron Morris handled, he stormed through when linking up with Park and dragged his finish wide when really deserving another goal.
Paul Pogba was introduced, for Cleverley, and soon had a shot well wide before Ravel Morrison and Michael Keane, for his debut, also came on for a taste of the action. United kept pressing but Park drilled wide when picked out from a corner by Owen and only a fine Darren Jones tackle thwarted Morrison following an exquisite exchange of flicks with Berbatov. Park's dynamic solo run ended with referee Peter Walton pulling play back for a free-kick on the edge of the box with Berbatov's set-piece pushed away by Worner as the Shots continued the process of damage limitation.