Barnet's Carling Cup trip to the Theatre of Dreams took just 100 seconds to turn into a chilling nightmare. The 4-1 scoreline is unlikely to be the talking point among either set of fans.
Barnet boss Paul Fairclough's plans for the League Two outfit's eagerly-awaited clash with Manchester United were so meticulous, he even had the crowd noise from Saturday's Premiership encounter with Tottenham piped across training on Monday.
What Fairclough could not account for in his preparations was a total brainstorm from his goalkeeper and the jobsworth attitude of referee Richard Beeby.
Ross Flitney had advanced a few yards out of his area as Barnet pushed forward but when United countered, the hapless goalkeeper got his measurements all wrong and plucked a routine pass forward out of the air under no pressure at all a yard before the ball had gone back into the area.
If ever there was a case for referees being allowed to use discretion in administering the game, this was it.
Virtually to a man, the 43,673 crowd - the lowest at Old Trafford for six years - disapproved of Beeby's decision to reach into his pocket with a shrug and wave the red card in Flitney's face.
After spending so long looking forward to a day he should have been able to remember with fondness forever, Flitney was inconsolable as he headed to the dressing room.
Spare a thought too for striker Louis Soares, the man sacrificed for the introduction of Flitney's replacement Scott Tynan, substituted without even kicking a ball.
To make matters worse, Liam Miller, a man who definitely had something to prove, exacted even further punishment by superbly curling the free-kick into the top corner to set the game firmly on course for a comfortable home win.
Meanwhile Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink sent 2004 Carling Cup winners Middlesbrough into the last 16 with a smash and grab goal in an entertaining third-round tie at Everton.
The visitors created plenty of chances on the break and more than deserved their win, but Everton showed further signs of a recovery act after their dreadful start to the season with an impressive attacking display that could easily have forced the tie into extra-time.
As it was, a 20-yard freekick against the bar from their outstanding player Mikel Arteta was the closest the Merseysiders came.
It was an ability to turn defence into attack quickly that saw Boro take the lead after 38 minutes when Viduka fed the ball through the middle for Hasselbaink to muscle his way past Joseph Yobo before drilling a low shot straight through Martyn's legs as he tried to scoop up the ball.
Elsewhere Alan Shearer had the last laugh against tenacious Grimsby as he struck an 80th-minute winner to send Newcastle through to the fourth round.
Shearer required three stitches in his lip at half-time after being elbowed in a challenge with Mariners skipper Justin Whittle.
But he seized his single chance to sweep the winner past Steve Mildenhall just when it looked like the League Two side were going to take the tie into extra-time.
Michael Chopra took advantage of a slip by Grimsby left- back Tom Newey to race in and square the ball for the former England man who needed no second invitation to fire the ball home.
Newcastle had shaded a tough and mostly scrappy clash but it was harsh on the Mariners for whom defender Rob Jones missed two late chances to equalise and earn that extra half-hour.
Holders Chelsea were knocked out by Charlton on penalties to end Jose Mourinho's hopes of a trophy clean sweep.
It was a double blunder by German international Robert Huth that cost them so dear.
The German international gifted Charlton an equaliser when his attempted back header never reached Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini and Darren Bent nipped in to score his ninth goal of the season. The goal cancelled out skipper John Terry's 41stminute header from Arjen Robben's corner.
After the Addicks survived extra-time, Huth then compounded his first-half mistake by missing Chelsea's second penalty in the shoot-out to allow the visitors to win 5-4.