Manchester United came from behind at Deepdale to beat Preston North End 3-1 and set up a quarter-final clash with Arsenal.
Trailing midway through the second half, two goals in seven minutes from Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini turned the match on its head before Wayne Rooney put it to bed from the penalty spot.
They now face Arsenal, who beat Middlesbrough on Sunday, at Old Trafford after the draw for the quarter-finals was made shortly before kick-off.
After a turgid first half devoid of chances at either end, Preston came out and took a surprise lead when Kevin Davies turned and played in Scott Laird, who drove home from the edge of the box. The ball took a slight deflection off Antonio Valencia, which appeared to fool David de Gea.
Preston held tight but were undone when Herrera, on his first start for United since January 4, found himself in the box and dug out a shot that went in off the post. Goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann was furious that Rooney, in an offside position, was not adjudged to be interfering with play.
United were ahead before long when Fellaini met a Valencia cross and, having directed his original header straight at Stuckmann, lashed home on the rebound.
The result was sealed when Rooney raced onto a through ball and got to it ahead of an onrushing Stuckmann inside the box. The Preston keeper went in recklessly but didn’t appear to make contact with Rooney, who went to ground anyway as Phil Dowd pointed to the spot. The England striker stepped up and tucked an emphatic penalty into the top left corner for his seventh goal in eight FA Cup matches.
15’ - CLOSE! Di Maria takes the free-kick and Stuckmann is completely flat footed and breathes a sigh of relief when he sees it sail just wide of his left-hand post.
27’ - FIRST CHANCE FOR PRESTON! They have a free-kick out wide on the left level with the edge of the box. It's a dangerous position and it's a dangerous ball in from Gallagher - Garner rises high and gets on the end of it but he can only send his header over the bar.
48’ - GOAL! Preston 1-0 United. Davies brings it down and plays in Scott Laird, who lets rip with his left foot and the ball, having taking a nick off Valencia, squirms under De Gea.
59’ - GREAT DEFENSIVE HEADER! Real danger now for Preston as Valencia gets to the byline and stands up a teasing cross. Fellaini is just waiting to nod it home but Clarke somehow gets up and beats him to it. Brilliant defending.
61’ - CHANCE! It's a hopeful ball pumped into the box and Garner tries to help it on with his head but can't steer it past de Gea.
62’ - GREAT DEFENDING! This time Huntington throws himself in the way of the ball as Fellaini wound up a shot inside the box.
65’ - GOAL! Preston 1-1 United. Herrera has the ball in the box, sorts his feet out and digs out a shot, which goes past Stuckmann and in off the post. 1-1
72’ - GOAL! Preston 2-1 United. Valencia floats the ball towards Fellaini at the back post and although his header comes back off the keeper, he's on hand to lash the rebound into the top corner. 2-1
87’ - UNITED HAVE A PENALTY! Rooney runs into the box and Stuckmann races across to meet it but the striker is there first and is taken out. He's heading away from goal, so it's only a yellow for the keeper.
88’ - GOAL! Preston 3-1 United. Rooney strikes an emphatic penalty into the top left corner. Game over.
This was the eighth time these sides have been drawn together in the FA Cup, with Manchester United progressing five times and Preston twice.
Manchester United have lost just one of their last 43 FA Cup matches against lower league opponents (W35 D7 L1).
Wayne Rooney has scored seven goals in his last eight FA Cup matches.
This was the first meeting in any competition since Manchester United won 2-0 at Deepdale in the FA Cup fourth round in February 1972.
Convincing or not? United now have just one defeat in their last 19 matches, which sounds like pretty decent form. Yet their performances are still leaving much to be desired. Their first half display was bereft of any pace or invention, a characteristic of the Moyes era that has still not disappeared under Van Gaal’s reign. While there results have improved on paper under the Dutchman there is still an awfully long way to go.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United): Am I really going to give it to Fellaini? I think I am. After all, it was when Van Gaal moved him into a striker’s role in the second half that United started to look much more of a threat. After United’s turgid and ineffectual first half, the Belgian was refreshingly effective up there.
Preston: Stuckmann 6, Clarke 7, Huntington 7, Wright 7, Laird 7, Humphrey 6, Welsh 6, Kilkenny 6, Gallagher 7, K. Davies 6, Garner 6. Subs: Wiseman 6, Reid 6, Robinson 6.
Manchester United: De Gea 6, Valencia 6, Smalling 6, Rojo 6, Shaw 6, Blind 7, Herrera 7, Rooney 7, Fellaini 7, Di Maria 7, Falcao 5. Subs: Young 6.