Manchester U 2 Ipswich 1
Manchester United 2 Ipswich Town 1, Old Trafford, English Football League First Division, March 21, 1981. After failing to win any of their previous five matches, Dave Sexton´s Manchester United edged out Ipswich Town 2-1 through goals from winger Mickey Thomas and defender Jimmy Nicholl.
After picking up just two points in their previous five games, Manchester United got their first win since beating Birmingham City 2-0 at Old Trafford on the last day of January. The Reds started on the wrong foot, though, as they conceded an early goal in the seventh minute of the contest when Eric Gates converted a well-taken corner-kick by Arnold Muhren. The home team gradually grew in the game and levelled the score ten minutes later as Mickey Thomas took advantage of some hesitancy in the visiting defence to fire past Paul Cooper and into the goal. Manchester United began the second half the strongest and they were rewarded in the 53rd minute of the match when a poor clearance from a corner fell to the feet of Jimmy Nicholl who placed his shot beyond the reach of Cooper and into the back of the net to hand the hosts a narrow, but deserved, 2-1 triumph. Despite defeating leaders Ipswich Town, Manchester United remained in a disappointing ninth position in the First Division standings with 36 points won from 36 fixtures, 14 points behind The Blues in top spot. And as it turned out, Dave Sexton would leave Old Trafford in the near future, and so would Mickey Thomas and Jimmy Nicholl. Manchester United Team: Gary Bailey, Arthur Albiston, Jimmy Nicholl, Kevin Moran, Gordon McQueen, Martin Buchan, Steve Coppell, Mike Duxbury, Garry Birtles, Joe Jordan, Mickey Thomas. Substitutes: None. Ipswich Town Team: Paul Cooper, Kevin Steggles, Russell Osman, Steve McCall, Terry Butcher, John Wark, Arnold Muhren, Eric Gates, Paul Mariner, Frans Thijssen, Kevin O’Callaghan. Substitutes: None.