It was 2003 and Owen's 86th-minute strike put the seal on a 2-0 win and marked another highlight in a career that had hitherto known almost only success.
Wind the clock forward seven years and the striker has hopes of leading the line for United at Wembley on Sunday, if not England at this summer's World Cup.
Owen sent out a reminder to Sir Alex Ferguson on Tuesday with a coolly taken goal in the 3-0 win against West Ham - but his failure to hold down a regular first team place at Old Trafford has forced him to all but admit defeat in his bid to break into Fabio Capello's squad.
The Carling Cup has been a stage on which Ferguson has given him the chance to impress this season - not least his outstanding solo strike against Barnsley in the fourth round - and if given the nod against Aston Villa, it could be his last shot at ending the season with a flourish.
Teddy Sheringham saw his United career turn around in the space of a week in 1999 when scoring as a substitute in the FA Cup and Champions League finals to help United win the treble.
And he believes there is still time for Owen to reignite his chances at United and make a late bid for South Africa.
"If Michael played the next four or five games and scored three or four goals then all of a sudden he's back in the good books and you'd have him in the squad," he said.
It is easy to understand why Owen, who scored after coming off the bench against West Ham last night, feels his England chance has passed him by.
Despite his late derby winner against City and Champions League hat-trick against Wolfsburg, he has continued to be overlooked in the starting XI by Ferguson.
With the United manager now preferring a 4-3-2-1 system, Owen's chances look even more limited.
It's no wonder he's so negative about his international future, if not about his chances at Old Trafford.
"It's been a long time since I was in the England squad," he said. "You never give up but it's probably a long shot in racing terms, but it's been great at United."
Source: Manchester Evening News