Date: Tuesday, 20th August 1991.
Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.
United 1 Nottingham Forest 0
United: McAllister. Nottingham Forest:
Leeds United: Lukic; McClelland, Dorigo;
Batty, Fairclough, Whyte; Strachan, Rod Wallace, Chapman, McAllister, Speed.
Forest: Crossley; Charles,
Pearce; Chettle, Tiler,
Keane; Crosby, Gemmell, Clough, Sheringham,
Referee: Mr N. Midgeley (Bolton).
England manager Graham Taylor was in attendance for United’s opening fixture of the season and they kick off
their campaign late as their opening day fixture against Crystal Palace had been postponed because their Selhurst Park ground was not finished in time to
meet FA regulations. Taylor had a friendly international
against West Germany looming and he was casting his eye
over the several contenders for a place in his team. John Lukic
would have impressed him with an immaculate goalkeeping display and it was
thanks to his efforts that United managed to keep a clean sheet and clinch
Brian Clough’s men had
given the United keeper quite a searching examination and Lukic
came through with flying colours and made two
outstanding saves , one to deny pacy full-back Gary
Charles, who hit a tremendous long range shot and the other to thwart Scott Gemmill, from relatively close range. There were others of
note, particularly well struck efforts from full-back Stuart Pearce and Lukic like the rest of his teammates knew they had been in
a game. Forest manager Brian Clough had got his
men fired up to meet the daunting prospect of playing in front of a big Elland Road crowd and, as a result, there was
never a moment when players on either side could afford a second of relaxation.
Both teams oozed pride and
passion in a high pressure game that kept fans on the edge of their seats and
it was not surprising that manager Howard Wilkinson breathed a huge sigh of
relief when it was all over and United had three points in the bag. “Had we not
been at our fighting best we might well have lost it.
This was a good one to get out of the way,” he said.
thirteenth minute goal, an eighteen yard shot from Lee Chapman’s flick on
following a long throw from David Batty, gave United an early boost and
probably made Clough rue his failure to persuade the skilful Scottish
midfielder to sign for Forest shortly before he agreed to a move from Leicester
to Leeds. Against a Forest side so good on the break, United needed, ideally, a second strike to
make life more comfortable. It didn’t materialize but United held out for the
narrowest of victories.
Forest battled away, with skipper Pearce
in his usual uncompromising mood but still finding time to test Lukic with some powerful shots. Yet while the watching England manager had good cause to feel
pleased with his current left-back, he must have also noted a competent display
from Pearce’s rival for the England No.3 shirt, Tony Dorigo.
The new United defender looked worth every penny of
the £1.3 million the Elland Road club had paid Chelsea for him. His coolness, vision and
ability to get forward making him a welcome addition to the United
side, but on the night when effort was the prime ingredient, no one worked
harder than Gary Speed, Lee Chapman and David Batty.
Gary McAllister fires in United’s
first goal of the season
Gary Speed and Tony Dorigo
congratulate Gary McAllister Gary
McAllister challenges Stuart Pearce as Rod Wallace watches
Gary McAllister got the only goal John Lukic made
several fine saves Lee Chapman
flicked on a Gary Speed throw-in for the goal
Tony Dorigo shone for United David Batty worked
Mark Crossley was
the Forest Keeper
Gary Charles partnered Stuart Pearce at
Full-Back Steve Chettle
and Carl Tiler were the central defensive duo
Gary Crosby, Scott Gemmill Roy Keane and Nigel
Jemson formed the midfield
Nigel Clough and Teddy Sheringham
were the strikers