Date: Saturday, 27th September 1997.

Venue: Elland Road, Leeds.

Competition: English Premier League.

Score: Leeds United 1 Manchester United 0

Scorers: Leeds United: Wetherall. Manchester United: Nil.

Attendance: 39,952.


Leeds United: Martyn; Halle, Wetherall, Radebe, Robertson; Kelly, Haaland, Hopkin (Molenaar), Ribeiro; Wallace, Kewell. Unused Subs: Hasselbaink, Bowyer, Lilley, Beeney.

Manchester United: Schmeichel; G. Neville (P. Neville), Berg, Pallister, Irwin; Beckham, Keane, Scholes (Johnsen); Paborsky (Thornley), Solskjaer, Sheringham. Unused Subs: McClair, Van Der Gouw

Referee: Mr J. Bodenham (East Looe, Cornwall).


The number of times England coach Ray Clemence had watched Nigel Martyn suggested there may have been some lingering doubt as to the international ability of the Leeds United keeper. Clemence had been a frequent visitor in the previous season, and he was at Elland Road for United’s previous encounter with Leicester City and he had returned to see United upset the odds with a hard fought victory over Manchester United. If there was any doubt, and there really shouldn’t have been, about Nigel Martyn’s skills these must surely have been dispelled with his performance in this welcome success against the champions and United’s arch-rivals.


George Graham had rightly sung the praises of the goalkeeper, who had been bought by his predecessor, Howard Wilkinson, for £2.25m during the summer break prior to Graham’s arrival over a year previous. And Old Trafford boss Alex Ferguson was equally impressed after Nigel Martyn had denied Manchester even a point with several superb saves. “At the end of the day it was down to how good the goalkeeper was. Far be it for me to trumpet him for England, but he did himself a power of good with his performance against us. He had four saves, two of which had to put in the exceptional category.” He said.


While Nigel Martyn, who kept his second successive clean-sheet, was getting the plaudits, Red’s keeper Peter Schmeichel was shouldering the blame for the thirty-fourth minute goal that David Wetherall thundered in with his head from Gary Kelly’s teasing left wing cross. He held his hands up afterwards and said he hesitated when the cross came over. It was a bad goal to lose. He hesitated and did not call.” Ferguson revealed.


There is no more satisfying victory for United fans than one over the men from Old Trafford and home fans in a near 40,000 capacity crowd were ecstatic when David Wetherall rose above Gary Pallister to meet Gary Kelly’s cross and head in. It was the fourteenth goal of his Elland Road career but his first in the League since he had scored in a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham at the end of the season before last. But, so far as the home fans were concerned, he could not have chosen a better time in which to end that unproductive League run. David Wetherall’s goal crowned an impressive display but United battled to earn this surprise victory which hoisted them to sixth place in the EPL.


No one worked harder or covered more ground in United’s cause than Gary Kelly. The Republic of Ireland man, playing on the right of midfield, got forward whenever possible but tracked back tirelessly to assist in defence when needed. David Hopkin, too, and Bruno Ribeiro got through a lot of work and Rod Wallace maintained his recent good form. He used his pace to unsettle the Red’s defence especially in the first half as the sides engaged in an entertaining battle.


It was a different scenario in the second half when the visitors piled on the pressure and United were penned back in defence for long periods. But Nigel Martyn, who had pulled off a tremendous save in the first half to deny David Beckham an equalizer, remained resolute and unshakable as the last line of defence. He produced a flying save to reach and hold a goal-bound Teddy Sheringham effort and, later on, palmed away a close range from Gary Pallister as the central defender pushed up into the attack in a bid to rescue a point. It was good stuff from the United keeper, but, as manager George Graham was quick to point out, it helps when you have good defenders in front of you. “The boys in front of Nigel played well. David Wetherall was outstanding and Lucas Radebe, in the first half, was fantastic. Goalkeepers need good defenders in front of them and I think that on the day we played well defensively, with just a couple of lapses.”


United were given a standing ovation when the final whistle eventually went after referee Martin Bodenham had played nearly six minutes for stoppages. But Alex Ferguson was left feeling that his side had been badly done to. “We were desperately unlucky not to win. We conceded a bad goal, but we played with a lot of purpose in the second half and were unlucky not to get something for it.”



Match Action:



David Wetherall beats Gary Pallister to the header to score the only goal                                                               and then celebrates



David Wetherall beats Gary Pallister to the header to score the only goal            and then celebrates







David Wetherall beats Gary Pallister to a high ball        David Wetherall consoles Teddy Sheringham          Gary Neville beats Harry Kewell



Gary Kelly is forced to hurdle Denis Irwin    David Robertson is confronted by Gary Neville              David Hopkin moves in on Roy Keane



Reminders of the Alf-Inge Haaland and Roy Keane “incident”





David Wetherall scored the only goal              Nigel Martyn impressed the       Gary Kelly crossed for the                 David Hopkin

                                                                            selectors                                       goal



and Bruno Ribeiro worked hard in midfield.       Rod Wallace continued his good form.              Lucas Radebe was fantastic in the first half. 



Peter Schmeichel was in goal                                                                 Gary Neville and Denis Irwin were the full-backs                         



With Gary Pallister and Henning Berg in central defence                                                David Beckham, Roy Keane and



Paul Scholes were the starting midfield         Phil Neville, Ronny Johnsen and Ben Thornley came on as substitutes



                             Karel Poborsky, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham started in attack