Halifax Town 2 Man Utd 1

George Best

Hal­i­fax To­wn 2 Man­chester Uni­ted 1, The Shay Sta­dium, Wat­ney Mann In­vit­a­tion Cup Fir­st Ro­und, Ju­ly 31, 1971. Man­chester Uni­ted suf­fered an un­ex­pec­ted and em­bar­rass­ing 2-1 de­feat ag­ainst the min­nows of Hal­i­fax To­wn in front of a re­cord at­tend­ance of 20,000 people at The Shay. The West York­shire club were lead­ing by two goals at the ha­lf-time break thanks to a head­er from Bill Atkins and pen­alty by Bob Wal­lace be­fore Geor­gie Best re­duced the de­fi­cit for The Reds from the spot late in the sec­ond half.

The Wat­ney Mann In­vit­a­tion Cup was a pre-sea­son tour­na­ment that ran from 1970-71 to 1973-74. The tour­na­ment was con­tested by the two highest scor­ing te­ams from each of the top four di­vi­sions who had not be­en pro­moted or qual­i­fied for Europe. At The Shay, Hal­i­fax To­wn took an early lead in the third min­ute of the fix­ture when for­mer Swin­don To­wn for­ward Bill Atkins head­ed a free-kick from the right pa­st Man­chester Uni­ted goal­keeper Al­ex Step­ney and in­to the top left cor­ner of the net. As the fir­st ha­lf wore on, The Reds were awar­ded a con­tro­ver­sial pen­alty for hand­ball in­side the eight­een-yard area in the 24th min­ute of play, but the sub­sequent spot kick from Wil­lie Mor­gan was saved by ho­me shot stop­per Alan Smith. In­stead it was the Third Di­vi­sion te­am that doubled their ad­vant­age just a couple of min­utes la­ter as Bob Wal­lace con­ver­ted from the spot af­ter Uni­ted de­fender Da­vid Sad­ler had fouled Scot­tish mid­fielder Lam­mie Robert­son in­side the pen­alty box. Wi­th the clock tick­ing down, Man­chester Uni­ted fi­nally fou­nd the back of the net in the 82nd min­ute of the en­counter when Geor­gie Best won a pen­alty which the Ul­ster­man con­ver­ted him­self. Frank O´Farrell´s star stud­ded si­de wor­ked hard for a lev­el­ler dur­ing the clos­ing sta­ges of the tie, but The Shay­men held the vis­it­ors from Man­chester at bay to se­cure a sen­sa­tion­al 2-1 ho­me vic­tory ag­ainst the for­mer Euro­pean Cup win­ners. Hal­i­fax To­wn Te­am: Alan Smith, Andy Bur­gin, Jeff Lee, Bob Wal­lace, John Pick­er­ing, To­ny Rhodes, Da­vid Chad­wick, John Fitz­patrick, Bill Atkins, John Fitz­patrick, Dave Lennard, Bar­ry Holmes. Sub­stitutes: Phil Mc­Carthy, Keith Bri­erly, Da­vid Ver­ity, John Ri­ordan, Bar­ry White. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Al­ex Step­ney, To­ny Dun­ne, Pad­dy Cre­rand, Ste­ve Ja­mes, Da­vid Sad­ler, John Fitz­patrick, Wil­lie Mor­gan, Alan Gowl­ing, Bob­by Charl­ton, De­nis Law, Geor­gie Best. Sub­stitutes: Bri­an Kidd, John As­ton, Ian Ure, Fran­cis Burns Jim­my Rimmer.


Manchester United Quickfacts

On the 7th of Jan­uary 1956, Matt Busby´s Man­chester Uni­ted suc­cumbed to a hu­mi­li­at­ing 4-0 de­feat ag­ainst Sec­ond Di­vi­sion Bris­tol Rov­ers at East­ville Sta­dium in the third ro­und of the FA Cup.


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