Leeds delivered a reminder of the glory days of old as they sent historic enemies Manchester United tumbling out of the FA Cup.
Shock of the round helps Whites remember paradise lostLeeds delivered a reminder of the glory days of old, and an example of what the future could hold, as they sent historic enemies Manchester United tumbling out of the third round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 victory. The Yorkshire side's fall from the Premier League and UEFA Champions League graces at the start of the millennium has been as infamous as it was staggering, but Jermaine Beckford struck at Old Trafford to show 2010 could be a turning point. The striker, possibly the epitome of what has been the new era at the League One table-toppers, broke the deadlock in the 19th minute of a first half which had crackled with an atmosphere from the days of Best versus Charlton, never mind the more recent past. Perhaps inevitably for a player who has now scored 20 goals this season, the forward collected Jonny Howson's long ball, which Wes Brown had misjudged, to display a composure some argue he lacks and roll past the onrushing Tomasz Kuszczak. Old Trafford rocked to the celebrations of 9,000 travelling fans from across The Pennines, but United nearly responded immediately through their own talismanic striker as a Wayne Rooney poke at goal was blocked on the goalline by Jason Crowe. Leeds went in at half-time one goal in front to set up a simmering second passage as tackles clattered and the game comfortably delivered the most engrossing action of what had been a drab third round bereft of the famous cup shocks. Substitute Michael Owen and Rooney both missed glorious chances for Premier League champions United, but Beckford was also wasteful at the other end and Leeds replacement Robert Snodgrass hit the woodwork with a free-kick as the visitors finished strongly to record a storybook win. Sir Alex Ferguson had turned to his youth brigade as despite stating he would be using his fringe players in Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final with Manchester City, he still named Gabriel Obertan, Fabio Da Silva, Danny Welbeck and Darron Gibson. Simon Grayson's Leeds were well backed but the odds were against the League One champions-elect registering the club's first Old Trafford victory since 1981 in the first meeting between the two sides in almost six years. The hosts suffered an early blow when Nemanja Vidic was injured in the warm-up, so Brown stepped up from the substitutes' bench to partner the returning Jonny Evans in central defence.
Spirited startLeeds made a spirited start and Bradley Johnson had an opportunity to pick out the in-form Beckford but squandered it. However, he did manage to force Gary Neville into conceding a corner that Kuszczak had to punch away under pressure. Beckford, who could leave in the transfer window, hooked a volley over, then Anderson fouled Johnson, only for Andy Hughes to drift his free-kick straight to Kuszczak. Beckford collected Neil Kilkenny's short pass and curled another effort towards the home goal that Kuszczak saved comfortably. Obertan's chipped cross was too near Casper Ankergren after he had been released by Welbeck, then the Frenchman misdirected a cross to the young striker as Berbatov screamed for a cut-back. Anderson screwed a shot wide as the Premier League champions began to exert their authority. However, Leeds were still a threat, as they proved after 19 minutes when Welbeck lost possession inside the visitors' half and Howson launched a long ball over the top for Beckford to chase. The striker got half a yard on Brown and, although his first touch appeared too strong, Kuszczak was slow to react and Beckford turned the ball into the United net, almost in slow motion as far as the disbelieving Leeds fans will have been concerned, as the Pole raced out. However, his joy would have lasted only five minutes if Crowe had not scampered back to clear off the line after Rooney had sprung the Leeds offside trap and raced forward before toe-poking a shot underneath Ankergren. Leeds were performing heroically and Johnson floated a header wide of the far post after Crowe had charged forward on the overlap. Rooney curled a shot wide at the other end after Obertan had won the hosts a corner. The England star was trying to spark his team into life, and he set up Welbeck for a shot that sailed narrowly wide from an acute angle, but he was the only real threat to Leeds as Dimitar Berbatov delivered another of his frustrating displays. Brown was booked for chopping down Luciano Becchio inside the Leeds half after Obertan had been caught in possession. Ferguson could not have been impressed with his side's efforts. Gibson's square ball under no pressure summed up the half. The Irishman was way off target as he tried to find Neville. The veteran defender still managed to reach the ball, only to see it roll out of play as he tried to control.
Thundering challengeBrown's thundering challenge, one from the days of old, on Johnson triggered an angry reaction, with Leeds boss Grayson arguing with Neville at one point. Leeds had the first attack of the second half as Howson curled over a cross that Kuszczak cut out. Ferguson had resisted the temptation to make changes at the interval and could have been rewarded with a penalty when Welbeck was seemingly blocked off in the box by Howson, only for referee Chris Foy to wave play on. There was even more friction now though. Howson and Gibson were picked out for a lecture after a scrap close to the home area that had started when Brown went in on the Leeds man. Ankergren saved superbly to deny Welbeck, who had raced into the box. He then did even better to block a close-range Berbatov effort. Gibson was booked for a late tackle on Johnson, and Naylor was also shown a yellow card when he cynically hacked down Rooney. Brown, who was treading a very fine line, barged into the back of Beckford, although Leeds could make nothing of the free-kick. Ferguson introduced Ryan Giggs and Antonio Valencia for Welbeck and Obertan just before the hour mark. Leeds had been a muted attacking force for quite a while but Johnson let fly with a speculative blast that Kuszczak saved easily. Fabio Da Silva strode onto a Rooney lay-off and curled a shot narrowly over the top. Johnson went for goal with a 25-yard free-kick but Kuszczak gathered at the second attempt. Owen and Rooney had their chances, but Leeds remained a threat as United were susceptible to the long ball and Beckford screwed wide on the break before Snodgrass curled against the joint of post and crossbar from a free-kick. United knew it was not to be their day in injury time as Owen was denied by Ankergren in a goalmouth scramble to leave 'marching on together' reverberating around Old Trafford.
|Manchester United||Team Statistics||Leeds United|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||4|
|14||Shots off Target||6|