Recent League Cup defeats at the hands of Doncaster, Chesterfield and Brighton only serve to emphasise the trouble Manchester City have had with cup football. Yet Scunthorpe were brushed aside as five different goalscorers: Stephen Ireland, Roque Santa Cruz, Joleon Lescott, Carlos Tevez and Michael Johnson confirmed City's progression to the last eight.
Related ArticlesScunthorpe out to KO Manchester CityMark Hughes defends Joleon Lescott's formShay Given: City defence needs time to gelRobinho: I could be the best at BarcaShay Given 'best goalkeeper in the world'Sport on televisionCity might not have contested a semi-final for 28 years, but no matter who they land in the draw for the next round, the winning mentality instilled by Hughes ensures that they will expect to progress.
Having delivered the cross from which Mark Robins scored the goal that 'saved Alex Ferguson's job' during a 1-0 Manchester United victory at Nottingham Forest almost 20 years ago, City manager Mark Hughes knows from experience the value of putting that first piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet.
Ferguson, thanks to the efforts of Robins, Hughes and co. went on to win the 1990 FA Cup for United after that narrow third round victory at the City Ground. Neither he nor United have ever looked back and, irritating as it doubtless will be to City followers, emulating that United success is precisely what Hughes is determined to do at Eastlands this season.
His first trophy as a manager and City's first of any kind since they last lifted the League Cup in 1976. The sooner it arrives, the better.
City haven't even played in a semi-final since 1981, so they have plenty of ground to make up, but they made the perfect start by taking the lead after just three minutes.
It was a goal of Premier League quality and Scunthorpe, lying 16th in the Championship, were cut in half by Shaun Wright-Phillips's pass to Ireland who, from the edge of the penalty area, guided a right-foot shot beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Joe Murphy.
Scunthorpe regrouped, however, and they busily harried City out of their stride before Jonathan Forte deservedly equalised for Nigel Adkins's team on 26 minutes.
Having dispossessed Nigel de Jong, Paul Hayes laid the ball off to Forte, who in turn released Marcus Williams on the left.
The left-back was then afforded time and space to cross to Forte, who ghosted in behind Joleon Lescott to score from three yards.
Moments later, Forte almost created a second goal for Hayes with a cross that resulted in a header from the midfielder which was well saved by Shay Given.
The new City are supposed to be over the frailties of their trophyless predecessors, but old habits clearly die hard.
It wasn't until Santa Cruz restored City's lead on 38 minutes with a header from Pablo Zabaleta's cross that the home side looked comfortable once again.
The £17m forward has already added a new dimension to City's forward line since overcoming a long-term knee injury last month. His presence and awareness mark him out as a key cog in Hughes's plans.
Considering that Scunthorpe's highest earner picks up a reported £3,000-a-week, a fraction of the salaries bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour at City, they certainly made their opponents earn their astronomical wage packets.
But the superior fitness and quality of Hughes's players inevitability came to the fore in the second-half and slick passing between Ireland and Carlos Tevez led to Cliff Byrne producing a crucial block to deny the Argentine on 52 minutes.
Tevez, seemingly relishing life in the blue half of Manchester following his summer move from Old Trafford, crossed for Ireland moment later, only for David Mirfin to head clear just as the City midfielder was primed to bundle the ball into the empty net.
Scunthorpe's resistance broke with the corner that followed, however. Wright-Phillips's delivery picked out Lescott on the penalty spot and the England defender powerfully headed in his second goal in two games.
Two goals clear, Hughes took the opportunity to freshen his squad by introducing youngsters Vladimir Weiss and Michael Johnson and Slovakian winger Weiss produced the cross for Tevez to score City's fourth goal, a close range tap-in on 70 minutes. Johnson then made his contribution with a deflected left-foot shot from 25 yards that made it 5-1 seven minutes later.
Manchester City (4-4-2): Given; Zabaleta, Kompany, Lescott, Sylvinho, Wright-Phillips, De Jong, Barry, Ireland; Tevez, Santa Cruz. Subs: Taylor (g), Richards, Bridge, Johnson, Benjani, Bellamy, Weiss.Scunthorpe United (4-1-4-1): Murphy; Byrne, Mirfin, Jones (Canavan h-t), Williams; J Wright; Hayes, O'Connor; McCann, Woolford; Forte. Subs: Lillis (g) A Wright, Togwell, Sparrow, Hooper, Spence. Goals: Booked: Sent Off: Referee: M. Oliver (Northumberland)