Contact Me - What's New on the site - Leeds United news

3 January 2010 - Manchester United 0 Leeds United 1

FA Cup third round - Old Trafford - 74,526

Scorers: Beckford (19 mins)

Manchester United: Kuszczak, Neville, Brown, Evans, Fabio Da Silva, Obertan (Giggs 58), Anderson (Owen 69) , Gibson, Welbeck (Valencia 58), Rooney, Berbatov

Leeds United: Ankergren, Crowe, Naylor, Kisnorbo, Hughes (White 90), Howson (Snodgrass 77), Kilkenny, Doyle, Johnson, Beckford, Becchio (Michalik 89)

A graphic from the Sunday Times' preview of the big gameManchester United at Old Trafford … is there a more formidable fixture in the English game? When Leeds United came out of the hat as the visitors in the FA Cup third round, there was a mixture of apprehension and excitement for everyone connected with the Elland Road club.

At the time of the draw they still had Kettering Town to face in an Elland Road replay on 8 December, but the Leeds fans had no doubt they would be the team coming out at the Theatre of Dreams to renew an old rivalry.

The second round tie at Kettering's Rockingham Road ground on 29 November finished 1-1 after Jermaine Beckford equalised an opening score from defender Ian Roper.

When the sides met again at Elland Road on 8 December, the Poppies put up a manful struggle and the score stood 1-1 at ninety minutes. Former Leeds striker Anthony Elding snatched a second half equaliser after Luciano Becchio had opened the scoring, but four extra time goals, including two from substitute Mike Grella gave the final score an emphatic look.

Leeds manager Simon Grayson tried to keep his men's feet on the ground when he spoke to BBC Radio Leeds after the game: 'Players have to got to be focused on their League performance or they won't get to Old Trafford. Our sole aim now is our focus on the game on Saturday at Brentford and that's all we've got to do.' Letting his guard drop for a minute, he added, 'It's a game that everyone is looking forward to, a massive achievement.'

Leeds had not played Manchester United for almost six years and had not beaten them since 2002. Their last Old Trafford victory was in 1981, but Grayson hoped his players could upset the odds.

'We'll be going there to give our best account and hopefully we'll do credit to the football club and try to give them a decent game,' he said. 'We know it's going to be tough but we'll enjoy it and see where it takes us. The rivalry with Manchester United has been there for all to see down the years so the incentive to get through was massive. This just takes us back to where this club was not so long ago, and could be again in the future.

'Most of my players won't have been to Old Trafford before, so the incentive to do well is huge. It's both a big test for them and a big opportunity, one you've got to go and enjoy because they might never get to play there again. It will give them a taste of what playing in front of 60,000, 70,000 is like and will hopefully bring out the best in them. They should think, "I want more of this."

'I remember playing there for Leicester in the Carling Cup. We were 4-0 down inside 20 minutes. Ryan Giggs had torn me to bits. He got taken off and I thought, "Thank God for that." Then Lee Sharpe came on. It was not a pleasant experience and it was never an easy place to go. But it's a fantastic arena, one where you can watch some of the best players in the world. It should be a great experience, not just for my guys but for me as well.

'Trying to put a team out to beat Sir Alex Ferguson, the most successful manager of all time, is something you dream of. I've spoken to him a couple of times about players and seen him at LMA (League Managers Association) dinners, but we haven't crossed paths too many times. I celebrated my 40th birthday a few weeks ago and guys like him are nearly 70 - so you think about the prospect of another 30 years of this? It's the desire and hunger to be successful that keeps him going. Hopefully I'll still be going strong at that age, too.

'To go to Old Trafford and test yourself, to see how you are progressing and learning as a manager, is great. Doing something in United's own back yard would be a wonderful achievement. Chances like these don't come along too often, do they?'

Chairman Ken Bates pledged to use the proceeds of the money spinning third round tie to finance rebuilding on and off the field at Elland Road. He estimated the rewards of the Old Trafford clash to be around £750,000 and Sir Alex Ferguson had words of praise for Leeds United and Simon Grayson before the matchsaid he would use the money to bolster Grayson's promotion drive. 'It will be sell out, there is no doubt about that ... It will be a substantial contribution to our income win, lose or draw. That is very important because we have a lot of things to do. We have continual ground works to improve the facilities for fans and we have to build up a fighting fund to ensure that Simon has the facilities at his command if we confirm promotion.'

Perhaps with a touch of his customary mind games, Sir Alex Ferguson chose to talk up Leeds in the days leading up to the match, expressing admiration of their resurgence and Grayson's part in the revival.

'Simon's done a fantastic job. He's a Leeds boy himself and a former player. Some people have targets in life and I think he reached his target by managing Leeds. He's got great motivation and his team aren't letting him down. They're playing really well at the moment. They won't be too far away from the Premier Division in the next couple of years. With the position they're in it looks as if they're absolute certainties to be in the Championship next year, and the motivation and drive that's coming from their manager at the moment will give them a great chance of being in the Premier League.'

Recalling the time he once got stuck in his car at traffic lights near Elland Road, Ferguson recalled, 'This bunch of supporters, skinheads, 20 or 30 of them, see me and go "Ferguson!" and start running across the road. The lights are still red, I'm almost shitting myself, they're getting nearer, then the light goes to amber and (impersonation of a tyre squeal) I'm away.

back to top

'I don't have to spell out what Leeds have meant to Manchester United over the years. It will be a fantastic, feisty occasion, just like every time we have met, but it has always carried a degree of hostility which has meant we have to tell the players to behave themselves on the pitch because there is no need to add to the problems off the pitch. Leeds are bringing 8,000 fans and it is going to be a busy day for the police but it will be a brilliant atmosphere. I used to enjoy the games, we had some great games over there. The atmosphere was always electric at Leeds and our record was pretty good there too.'

Henry Winter previewed the game for The Telegraph: 'The moment Leeds United were drawn in the FA Cup against the opposition they loathe the most, texts peppered the mobile phone of Richard Naylor, the Leeds centre-half and lifelong fan. So what was the gist of his mates' messages about Sunday's collision with Manchester United? Naylor smiled. "They said: 'Go and smash Gary Neville!'"

'As a professional, Naylor stressed his "utmost respect" for Neville, Wayne Rooney and the rest of Sir Alex Ferguson's team. As a man with "Marching On Together" on his lips and a White Rose tattoo on his arm, Richard Naylor chases Wayne Rooney during the gameNaylor understood the supporters' passion.

'So did the League One side's impressive manager, Simon Grayson, who also grew up following Leeds, when they encountered Manchester United regularly. Both men know that this fixture is the War of the Roses with shin pads, that it is about Norman Hunter chasing George Best across muddy pitches, about Eric Cantona flitting across the great divide of the Pennines. It is about the Leeds decorator who refuses to charge for painting over red walls. It is about fervent emotion and white emulsion.

'It is about a constant craving beating in hearts scattered around the world, about the texts filling Naylor's phone, about the insatiable demand for tickets from Grayson's family and friends. It is about the messages of support pouring into Elland Road and a special Yorkshire Evening Post web page. It is about fans from New Zealand and Florida, Dublin and Edinburgh, as well as Batley and Tingley, pledging their allegiance to their beloved Leeds.

'Above all, it is about memories and hopes, about a faith that endures through the darkest of times. "Come on Leeds, this club will rise again - let's show the Premier League what they're missing!" read one message. "Come On You Whites - Give 'Em Hell," commanded another. "Sing out loud and proud for the whole 90-plus Fergie time minutes," beseeched another fan.

'Naylor and company may be outplayed on Sunday, Grayson's men may go out of the Cup, but these runaway leaders of League One will remind everyone they are marching on together into the limelight again. New year, new decade, new era.

'However much Leeds supporters may hate the place, Old Trafford represents a theatre of reawakening dreams for them. "This is where we want to be week in, week out," said Naylor. "This is where this club and fans deserve to be."

'Many of Naylor's toxic texters will be among the 9,000-strong raucous choir in the upper tier of the old Scoreboard End. Leeds calculate they could have sold three times their allocation. "We have got probably the most loyal supporters in the country," said Naylor.

'From Newcastle United to Manchester City via Sheffield Wednesday, other groups of fans can claim similar devotion during troubled days. Leeds' collapse from "living the dream of the Champions' League", as Grayson put it, has been extraordinary. Point deductions, law cases, relegations, Manchester United winning another Champions League, the selling of crowd favourites, debt and near destruction: the litany of agonies has been long. Throw in Dennis Wise as manager and the nightmare was complete. Yet the fans never walked away.

'"They've backed us through the turmoil," said Grayson. "It does surprise me. The fans would have every reason to not come through the turnstiles. But it is the hallmark of a fantastic fan base that we can take 4,000 on a Tuesday night to Bristol Rovers. We are taking 9,000 to Old Trafford and we could take 30,000."

'Naylor concurred. "A game like Sunday's is almost a reward for the fans' loyalty after going to some of the places we have had to over the past few years," said the defender. "With no disrespect, going to many League One grounds is United’s Darren Gibson tackles Neil Kilkennystill a fall from grace compared to some of the big grounds we used to go to."

back to top

'Along with Grayson, Naylor was talking at the club's Thorp Arch retreat, a facility-filled symbol of Leeds' ambition but a reminder of lingering financial restraints (they do not own the place). Both Grayson and Naylor embody the honesty, hard work and belief in Leeds that underpins the club's revival.

'The FA Cup offers an exotic treat compared to the bread and butter of the League One campaign, Leeds' overriding priority, but Naylor's eyes still light up when informed that the Stretford End has been singing even more about its enmity towards the old foe.

'"If you ask any Leeds fan, they like it when they hear clubs chanting disrespectful stuff about them," continued Naylor. "Man United do it. We will do it to them whichever league we are in because of that rivalry. It's a proper rivalry. It's not one that's just come about in the last few years; it's got history. Man United have gone on to great things over the past 10 years while Leeds haven't - and there is envy that we haven't."

'The last Leeds player to score a winner at Old Trafford was Brian Flynn 29 years ago, so there was something spooky about Naylor's chance choice of T-shirt. "Class of 81," it declared. "Courage, Ability and Success.£ The designer's name will particularly please chairman Ken Bates and the club's accountants: Replay.

'This will be the first time Leeds and Manchester United have met in the Cup since 1992, yet in the Sixties and Seventies there were three semi-finals, two of which were decided by Billy Bremner.

'"These are two big teams from the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties," observed Grayson. "This fixture five years ago was a Premier League fixture. It could have been a Champions' League fixture. Leeds were, not so long ago, a top team. So when Manchester United fans sing 'We hate Leeds' it is a compliment. When teams go from the Premier League to League One as we are now, that rivalry can dwindle away. So it is a testament to us that Man United hate us probably as much as they did when we played them on a regular basis. But whatever our fans sing, Man United are still the best club in the country. We are not in terms of where we are at the moment, but we are in terms of the size of our club."

'Sunday will bring some welcome atmosphere to Old Trafford and some equally appreciated lustre for the Cup. "When you see the size of the two clubs and the intensity of the game it will show you what the FA Cup is all about," enthused Grayson. "I can't believe people don't treat the FA Cup with the respect it is due. It is steeped in history."

'The past will invade the present. The Stretford End will sing of its love for Cantona, whose Bradley Johnson crashes in a shot at Old Trafford1992 switch still rankles Elland Road. "It was disappointing," recalled Naylor. "Cantona rented a house not far from me in Leeds and we used to walk past on the way to school. I was at Bramall Lane when we won the title and Cantona was on the sideline doing kick ups in front of all the Leeds fans. He was just adored. To see him go across and have the success he did was gutting."

'So much history. Naylor and Grayson derive confidence from more recent history, from the memory of testing Liverpool at home in the Carling Cup, of Robert Snodgrass filling the nightmares of Andrea Dossena, a £7 million Italian left-back reduced to rubble. "We have some talented players that can perform, certainly in the next level, the Championship, and hopefully in the next level after that," added Grayson.

'Sunday will clarify the extent of their progress. Grayson hopes Ferguson will field his A-listers. "Our players would love to be playing against Rooney. It would make it even better if we managed to get a result with the likes of Rooney, Vidic, Giggs all playing."

;Grayson has lost his lucky pen but still maintained his superstition of not speaking to his wife before away games. He is saving his breath for one final rallying cry before Naylor and company leave their Old Trafford dressing room. "Good luck," Grayson will tell them. "And make sure you win."'

back to top

As the day of the Old Trafford contest drew closer, a number of press rumours regarding the future of Jermaine Beckford surfaced, with the Mirror carrying a report that the Leeds striker had put a £2m transfer to Newcastle on hold so that he could play in Manchester. A 'Leeds source' was quoted as saying: 'There is no way Jermaine will want to miss the chance to play United at Old Trafford. He might not be a Leeds player for too much longer, but his move can wait until after this tie has taken place.'

The Tyneside-based Northern Echo: 'Newcastle have stepped up their interest in Jermaine Beckford by tabling a £1.25m offer for the striker, but Leeds officials have rejected their opening gambit and insisted their club's leading scorer will not be allowed to leave on the cheap. Magpies chiefs made a firm approach earlier this week in an attempt to tie up a deal before the transfer window officially re-opens tomorrow morning. Having tracked 26-year-old Beckford for the best part of two seasons, Newcastle officials finally made formal contact with their counterparts at Elland Road and offered £1.25m for the striker's services.

'While the London-born forward has scored 19 goals in 27 appearances this season, Magpies owner Mike Ashley is reluctant to pay much more than that for a player who is out of contract in the summer, and would therefore be available for nothing in June. Ashley is also understood to feel that Beckford's lack of Premier League experience should mitigate against a higher fee. Leeds officials feel differently, however, and Newcastle's initial offer was rejected out of hand for being too low.

'With promotion to the Championship looking likely given the 11-point advantage Leeds currently hold over the Play OffJason Crowe is tackled by Man U's Anderson positions, manager Simon Grayson is aware of the possible detrimental impact that selling Beckford could have on his side. Leeds owner Ken Bates is understood to share such concerns, and it is expected that the pair will hold out for a fee in excess of £2m. Indeed, Newcastle could have to double their initial offer if they are to prise Beckford from Elland Road during the January transfer window.'

Beckford was still a Leeds player by the day of the big match and duly took his place up front alongside Luciano Becchio. Grayson could not select loanee winger Max Gradel because parent club Leicester did not want to see him cup-tied, while Leigh Bromby was missing through suspension; goalkeeper Shane Higgs and left-back Ben Parker were absent with long term injuries, Rob Snodgrass on the bench because of a recent knock. He could, however, rely on the vast majority of players who had seen United go through 15 competitive games without suffering defeat.

Sir Alex Ferguson paid Leeds the courtesy of naming a strong starting eleven that included Wayne Rooney among others, although he was dealt a last minute blow when Nemanja Vidic picked up an injury during the pre-match warm up. Wes Brown was his emergency replacement.

There was some disquiet among the home fans, however, that the manager selected the unproven Gabriel Obertan and Danny Welbeck as his wide men, leaving Ryan Giggs and Antonio Valencia warming the bench.

Wayne Rooney kicked off the televised tie on the dot of 1pm, but Leeds had the first thrust. They showed no nerves as they held possession cleverly in the opening couple of minutes before Obertan broke up their move. As Manchester came out, Darren Gibson earned some space with a neat turn away from his man. He played a one-two with Berbatov before trying an audacious drive from 35 yards. It curled narrowly wide of Ankergren's left hand post though the keeper had it covered.

back to top

Minutes later, Rooney bought himself time on the left to float the ball cross pitch to the overlapping Gary Neville. The former England full-back, captain for the day but perennial hate figure for Leeds fans, was greeted by a wall of concerted booing. The impending danger was stemmed easily enough and the visitors won a throw.

Then came another decent passage of pass and move football from Leeds which Luciano Becchio holds off the challenge of United’s Darren Gibsontook them deep into opposition territory. The movement ended in disappointment, however, when Bradley Johnson's overhit cross from the left sailed beyond the far post to give Manchester possession.

The Whites had settled amazingly well, showcasing their neat short passing game and demonstrating clearly that they were here to do more than make up the numbers. But Rooney gave them pause for thought when he went on a powerful run down the left, taking on Richard Naylor. The Leeds captain managed to stay with him but was always stretching to keep up with the England striker. When he turned back inside to cross, the ball was plucked safely out of the air by Ankergren.

Leeds continued to go forward and when Johnson rounded Gibson in the sixth minute he earned a corner after Neville blocked his cross. Keeper Kuszczak punched the flag kick away under pressure from Becchio.

Still the men in white came on and when Crowe's cross from the right came in, Beckford controlled it well and spun away from Neville. He snatched at his acrobatic effort and flashed the ball harmlessly over the bar, not appreciating how much time and space he had.

Manchester worked the ball across field from right to left and when Welbeck beat Crowe to find space there was a hint of danger but his clever cross found no takers and ran out for a throw on the opposite wing.

But the Reds were enjoying more of the possession now and starting to find their feet. They were not creating clear openings but were starting to get on top.

Hughes' hasty 14th-minute clearance down touch bounced back to Welbeck off Neville and Obertan was given the opportunity to reach the byline before chipping back across goal, but Ankergren anticipated well and took the ball at the near post. The French winger was back again seconds later to send over an inviting cross only for Welbeck to overrun it.

Within a minute, a long ball forward by Gibson found Rooney in the clear on the edge Jermaine Beckford beats Brown and Kuszczak to put Leeds ahead at Old Traffordof the box. He spotted Ankergen advancing and sought to chip him but mistimed his shot which trickled out tamely for the goal kick.

After 18 minutes the Old Trafford crowd was silenced when Leeds took an astonishing lead.

The Reds' long free kick forward was controlled by Berbatov who turned away from Naylor on the left. The Leeds captain recovered to take possession but Welbeck robbed him in turn. Jonny Howson emerged from the ruck with the ball and looked up to see what was on before launching a pass fifty yards forward in the direction of Beckford, sprinting clear of Brown.

back to top

It was a superbly accurate pass, but Beckford's initial control let him down and he allowed the ball to run loose into the area. That worked to the striker's advantage, however, tempting Kuszczak from his station. Beckford was well clear of the chasing Brown and calmly flicked the ball left-footed under the advancing keeper. It rolled on unerringly, in at the far post.

As one the Elland Road faithful rose in excited celebration to acclaim a breathtaking moment.

Things could have got even better within two minutes when more decent Leeds passing saw Howson get to the right byline and stand up the perfect cross, but Becchio could only head tamely over the bar when he should have buried the ball.

Rooney came close to an equaliser in the 24th minute. As a long clearance came forward he headed it down for Berbatov and then set off in pursuit of the return ball down the right channel. Cutting in at pace, he shot through the advancing Ankergren. Jason Crowe had anticipated brilliantly, however, and was there to clear it off the line.

Undeterred, Leeds were back again. Howson fed the overlapping Crowe on the right and there were four white shirts awaiting the cross. Johnson met it at the far post but could only nod it out for a goal kick.

This was a bona fide, cracking Cup classic.

In the 28th minute Manchester drove in concerted style around the edge of the Leeds box and there was a furious scramble with Whites defenders throwing their bodies in where it hurt to preserve their hard earned advantage. The pressure was relieved when Anderson swiped hisWayne Rooney hurdles Casper Ankergren to send the ball goalwards only for Jason Crowe to clear it off the line snap shot well wide of goal.

As the game reached the half hour mark, the ball dropped to Rooney on the left hand corner of the penalty area. He took it down skilfully to make a chance but his shot looped narrowly round Ankergren's left-hand upright.

In the 33rd minute Rooney set Welbeck up on the left with a neat ball into the area. The wide man pulled it back onto his right foot but his attempted shot was hopelessly wide when three Reds were waiting for the pass in and around the goal area. It was a scandalous waste.

Two minutes later a smart spin by Becchio as the ball came forward on the left took him away from Brown. The Reds defender couldn't resist the cheap trip which brought the game's first caution; it would inevitably leave Brown walking a knife edge for the rest of the contest with Beckford and Becchio always intent on making life difficult for him.

Jonny Evans nodded one corner wide after 39 minutes when Ankergren came for the ball but was blocked by Crowe, but that was a rare moment of anxiety for the Leeds keeper. Manchester were having plenty of possession and dominating midfield but were struggling to find any genuine penetration.

In the 42nd minute Wes Brown tested referee Chris Foy's patience when he crashed right through Bradley Johnson with a hefty tackle; it was possibly only because he had already been cautioned and the game was at Old Trafford that he escaped without even a warning. Certainly, the visiting fans were stridently baying for his dismissal.

The game reached the half time interval with Leeds still that precious goal ahead and looking worth the advantage. They had been in fantastic form. As the half had gone on they had sat back somewhat, inviting the home forwards onto them, but Kisnorbo and Naylor looked unbeatable at the heart of the back four, playing with clenched fist determination.

At the start of the second period, Obertan put Rooney clear down the left flank. He sent over a dangerous centre but Andy Hughes nodded it safely behind for a corner as Berbatov hovered menacingly.

There were some strong penalty claims from the home men as Welbeck went down from a shoulder charge by Howson as he made his way across the box but Chris Foy would have none of it and Neil Kilkenny brought the ball forward down the right.

back to top

Leeds took the ballJermaine Beckford holds up possession despite the best efforts of Fabio and Evans on to the edge of the area as Howson cut inside from the right flank. He allowed the ball to escape his control at the last and Brown nicked the ball away. As Michael Doyle came through to take it, the Reds defender crashed over the ball into him and then stamped all over Howson, provoking a string of Yorkshire protests. Brown must have had his heart in his mouth as Chris Foy set about sorting out the dispute. It was a strangely naive gamble for a player already with a yellow card to his name. But it was Gibson and Howson who got a lengthy talking to from the official and the game was restarted with a drop ball.

After 49 minutes Berbatov put Welbeck away down the right and he made good ground but his shot was blocked brilliantly by Ankergren and ran away for a corner. The Reds worked a short flag kick move but Howson was alive to it and nipped in to take the ball off Gibson and bring Leeds out. He tried to find Beckford up the middle but Fabio intercepted for Manchester.

If anything the pace of the game was increasing, but Leeds were continuing to show assurance and Crowe smartly intercepted one through ball to Obertan to set his side on the attack. He lost the ball almost straight away and the Reds came storming forward, but they were now running into blind alleys. Simon Grayson's troops were sticking resolutely to their game plan and the home side were starting to run out of ideas. Their normal zip and creativity had been blunted by the Leeds tactics as Old Trafford fell eerily quiet.

There was some fantastic defending and goalkeeping going on and Manchester's frustration shone through clearly when Gibson hacked Johnson up in the air after Becchio had held the ball up well to allow his team mates to come out. The midfielder's name went into Foy's notebook.

Richard Naylor quickly followed him when he took Rooney down as the England man got away from him. It was a calculating 'one for the team' on the Leeds captain's part.

In the 58th minute, Alex Ferguson sought to freshen up his side by taking off Obertan and Welbeck, both promising much but ultimately failing to deliver. Ferguson brought Ryan Giggs and Antonio Valencia off the bench in a move designed to stretch the visiting rearguard to the maximum.

As the game reached the hour mark, Andy Hughes was a little fortunate when his scuffed header back to Ankergren sold him a little short on the edge of the box but the Danish keeper reached it. It brought a wry smile from Hughes, but in truth the opportunities for the Reds were becoming scarcer and it seemed that it might take a Leeds error to allow the home side back into theYou'll never beat Kisnorbo! The Aussie showed at Old Trafford a real never-say-die spirit that denied one of the world's best attacks contest.

Indeed, it was the Yorkshiremen who enjoyed the following couple of opportunities, with Bradley Johnson trying long range efforts. The keeper took the first comfortably and the second flew wide.

Howson gave the ball away with a misplaced pass in the 64th minute after winning the ball well and promising to come away; the move ended with Fabio's curling shot dipping too late after a decent combination with Rooney in the area.

A minute later, Beckford with his back to goal drew another cheap foul from Brown as Doyle's through ball found him. It wasn't clear why Chris Foy allowed the defender to escape after kicking through the striker and Johnson's dead ball effort was comfortably gathered by Kuszczak.

Valencia skinned Hughes down the outside after 67 minutes but Kisnorbo nodded the ball away and Johnson showed composure to earn a goal kick when under close pressure.

In the 69th minute, Michael Owen was brought on for Anderson as Sir Alex Ferguson rolled his final dice.

Within a minute the former England striker had a clear opportunity. Rooney's sharp through ball to the right found the onrushing Valencia and he set Owen up perfectly. Owen swung over the top of the inviting ball and scuffed his effort. The Leeds defenders stood up well in the ensuing scramble before Rooney hammered the ball high into the crowd.

It was a crucial miss and Ferguson's despairing look to the skies echoed the feelings of most of the home supporters.

Leeds had a chance in the 72nd minute when Becchio chased and caught what seemed a lost cause in the corner and fed back to Hughes. His ball towards goal flicked off Johnson's thigh but Kuszczak collected it ahead of the onrushing Beckford.

In the 73rd minute Ankergren was safe from Rooney's placed effort from 30 yards and the sting seemed to have been drawn from the home attack, though Valencia had Hughes where he wanted him whenever he had possession. If the Reds had used him more readily they might have enjoyed greater fortune.

back to top

There was some fantastic effort shown by Leeds players over the final quarter of an hour as they endlessly chased down their opponents and forced them to go back when they desperately needed to strike at the opponents' back four. It was a model of disciplined defending.

After 76 minutes Valencia danced away from his man once more and cut the ball back to Rooney, Casper Ankergren denies Michael Owen with Naylor, Kisnorbo and Crowe also involved in the tanglebut he sent it flying into the crowd behind the goal as the home men began to accept this just might not be their day.

Almost immediately, Simon Grayson sent Robert Snodgrass on in place of Howson to give his tiring troops new legs. The change served its purpose with the Scottish wide man chasing down home defenders. Then Doyle found Beckford in the middle with a deft through ball. He controlled it instantly, took it wide of his marker and got in a tremendous shot which shaved Kuszczak's right-hand post.

The chance refreshed Leeds and Becchio dispossessed Brown in the corner to set up a chance for Johnson whose shot was just gathered by the diving keeper as it threatened to creep in at the near post.

Amazingly, it was suddenly all Leeds. Beckford, back to goal, held the ball up again on the edge of the home area. He turned away from the marking Evans, who tugged him desperately down to the turf as he threatened to create a chance. Leeds were awarded the free kick but inexplicably there was no card. Snodgrass took the dead ball and cracked it against the angle of Kuszczak's goal. It was a stunning effort.

Seconds later Owen claimed a penalty as a Leeds man appeared to catch his heels on the edge of the box, but the referee ignored the desperate appeals.

In the 82nd minute after a cross was cleared by a Leeds defender, Darren Gibson struck powerfully on the volley but the low shot flew wide of Ankergren's goal as the Dane sought to show that he, at least, was keeping a cool head.

A minute before the end of the regulation ninety, Becchio, suffering with cramp, was replaced by Lubo Michalik as Simon Grayson sought to protect what Leeds had. Johnson was booked a minute later for timewasting as he prevented Manchester taking a quick free kick by holding on to the ball and then throwing it away.

There were five minutes of time added on, though Alex Ferguson bitterly complained that there should have been more as the Leeds fans gleefully taunted with massed cries of 'Fergie time!'

Owen flicked a header wide of the goal after 92 minutes just before Aidan White was brought on for Hughes.

In the 94th minute there was a desperate scramble in the Leeds area after Ankergren saved Rooney's fantastic strike and somehow the defenders scrambled away the ball. It was the final opportunity and Chris Foy's whistle confirmed the shock result of the season, one of the most remarkable in the history of Leeds United.

It was also one of the most chastening experiences of Sir Alex Ferguson's Old Trafford career, as he acknowledged later: 'The preparation for the game was very good, but I'm shocked by the performance. We didn't start right and Leeds did... They got their goal and had something to hold onto. They fought like tigers, and we expect that with any team coming to Old Trafford for an FA Cup-tie. It's a disappointment.

'We did speak about Beckford's pace up front. We Darron Gibson evades Neil Kilkennywere caught napping really, it was a bad goal for us to lose. The whole performance in the first half was bad. We never got going and the quality of the passing - the whole performance was just bad. It's one of these things. We're only human and sometimes you have performances that surprise you. But we didn't expect that today.

back to top

'I don't think any of the players can say they had a good day. Maybe only Valencia, when he came on, can say that. Even then it took us about ten minutes to get the ball to him.'

Simon Grayson was as overjoyed as Ferguson was dismayed, beginning by praising his goalscorer. 'It was a good ball from Jonathan Howson and Jermaine got in there and nine times out of 10 he finishes them off, and that's what he did. He gave us an opportunity to go on and win the game from there and with a bit of luck that's what we did. Full credit to the players, who were outstanding today, but it's what they've been like all season.

'I told the players that, if you can perform at Old Trafford, somebody will be a hero. Everybody talked about Brian Flynn and he reminded me that he was the last player to score a winner at Old Trafford in 1981 when I saw him recently. Jermaine Beckford will get the credit now, but we are immensely proud of our team and what they have done today.

'We knew it would be difficult coming to Old Trafford, but we told the players to do themselves justice and be proud of themselves, whether they came back to the dressing room with a win, defeat or draw. They certainly did that.

'United have fantastic players, but we had a plan to contain them. We knew that we could deny them possession and that we had people who, when we had possession of the ball, could hurt them.

'Our keeper made some good saves, but he was not being peppered on a regular basis. He did what he had to do because he had players in front of him defending properly and making tackles.

'Our club has had a lot of negativity over the last five or six years with administration and relegation, so this is a result for our fans. Leeds is a big club. We are known in Europe and worldwide for our achievements in the 1960s and 70s, but we are in League One for a reason. I want to be back here managing this club in the Premier League, though, and we have to go through the Championship first to do that.

'From start to finish the fans backed the players and they went home happy. That's what they deserve. There's been a lot of negativity around over the past few years here, but they've never wavered and that result was for them.

'I'm sure there'll be a few hangovers on Monday and I'm not quite sure when it will sink in. It's a day for the players and fans to look back on, and full credit to everyone.'

Oliver Kay in The Times: 'This, to borrow a phrase from a certain former Leeds United chairman, was living the dream. Or perhaps it was emerging from the nightmare of the previous decade.

'Either way, a sleeping giant announced its awakening at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon with a famous victory that amounted to a humiliation for Manchester United.

'Romance of the FA Cup? There was bucketloads of it here, with the only goal scored by Jermaine Beckford, a 26-year-old who was playing for Wealdstone and working as a windscreen fitter for the RAC four years ago. But the wider context, of the greatest upset in the competition's recent history, seemed secondary to the significance of a Leeds victory at the home of their fiercest rivals.

'For the 9,000 Leeds supporters who travelled over the Pennines yesterday, this was a reward for all the anguished times ... All of it might have felt yesterday like a price worth paying for the joy of seeing Leeds dump Manchester United out of the FA Cup.

back to top

'Sir Alex Ferguson said that Simon Grayson's team had enjoyed the luck that any visiting team needs to beat Manchester United, but he was just about gracious enough to say that they had earned any luck that had come their way. He said that Leeds had shown "a far bigger appetite than us for the game", a damningSimon Grayson applauds the fans at the end appraisal of his players' efforts on an afternoon when they were put to shame by the resolve of Patrick Kisnorbo, the tenacity of Neil Kilkenny and the composure, when it mattered, of Beckford.

'Any FA Cup upset these days usually has to come with a caveat, with the top managers tending to withhold their heavy artillery as much as possible, but this was a Manchester United team containing eight full internationals, among them Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov, against a Leeds side from two divisions below.

'It was the first time that Ferguson had tasted defeat by a club from a lower division since he took charge of Manchester United in 1986. Indeed it was the first time since a humiliating defeat in 1984 by Bournemouth, managed by Harry Redknapp, that the club have suffered the ignominy of losing in the third round of the FA Cup.

'Both teams deserved everything they got. Leeds were simply sharper, more energetic and more committed. With Ferguson losing Nemanja Vidic to an unspecified strain during the warm up, the Manchester United defence was caught cold. In the nineteenth minute, Berbatov and Danny Welbeck were hustled out of possession, Jonathan Howson hit a perceptive long pass over the home defence and Beckford left Wes Brown trailing in his wake before clipping a left-foot shot beyond Tomasz Kuszczak and into the far corner of the goal at the Stretford End.

'Brown, thrust into the starting line up at short notice by Vidic's injury, had an arduous time against Beckford, but he was hardly the only weak link in the home team. Gary Neville, who is not exactly ageing gracefully, was off the pace throughout, but so were the youngsters, Jonny Evans and Fábio Da Silva. On the wings Welbeck and Gabriel Obertan made no headway whatsoever and up front Rooney, having started brightly enough, had what became a torrid afternoon, shanking a couple of efforts high and wide when opportunities to equalise presented themselves.

'Manchester United had enough chances to win the game, but the overall picture, when it came to the ebb and flow, was of a Premier League team being knocked out of their stride by lower class opponents. When the match entered the final 15 minutes, the time when United would have expected to crank up the pressure, it was Leeds who looked the more likely scorers, with Beckford again beating the offside trap to send a rasping shot just wide of Kuszczak's goal and Robert Snodgrass striking the upright with a left foot free kick three minutes after coming on as a substitute.

'Leeds were hungrier and more committed. The difference could be seen all over the pitch, but nowhere more than in defence, where Kisnorbo and his colleagues simply refused to yield. Casper Ankergren, a Danish goalkeeper signed from Brondby, Peter Schmeichel's former club, saved well from Welbeck and Rooney in the second half, but he was valiantly served by his defenders throughout - never more so than in the 24th minute, when Rooney's shot was heroically cleared off the line by Jason Crowe.

'Even as their team edged closer to a famous victory, the Leeds supporters preferred to sing about their seemingly imminent promotion to the Championship than about the prized scalp that was within their grasp.'

'Our fans have followed us the length and breadth of the country, to places like Bristol Rovers on a Tuesday night, when they could easily have decided they didn't need to,' Grayson said afterwards. 'After all that this club has been through over the past few years, this is for them.'

back to top