Manchester Utd 5 Wolves 0

Garry Birtles

Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers 0, Old Traf­ford Eng­lish Foot­ball Lea­gue Fir­st Di­vi­sion, Oct­ober 3, 1981. Fol­low­ing a nar­row 1-0 tri­umph ag­ainst Leeds Uni­ted, Man­chester Uni­ted went on to out­class Wolver­hampton Wan­derers in their next fix­ture. North­ern Ire­land play­er Sam­my Mc­Ilroy hit a tre­ble, whi­le Frank Stapleton and Garry Birtles net­ted a goal each in the 5-0 beat­ing of Wolves. 

Long gone were the glory days of the le­gendary Ma­jor Frank Buckley who had laid the found­a­tions for Wolver­hampton Wan­derers’ suc­cess in the 1950s. Be­fore an at­tend­ance of al­most 47,000 spec­tat­ors at Old Traf­ford, Man­chester Uni­ted launched them­selves in­to at­tack from the out­set and took the lead ag­ainst Wolver­hampton when ex­pens­ive sum­mer sign­ing Frank Stapleton ran onto a bril­liant thro­ugh ball from of­fens­ive ori­ented mid­fielder Sam­my Mc­Ilroy and pla­ced his ef­fort bey­ond the reach of for­mer Eng­land U21 goal­keeper Paul Brad­shaw in the ninth min­ute of the en­counter. Then, some 12 min­utes la­ter in the mat­ch, Mc­Ilroy sco­red him­self as he ham­mered the ball pa­st Brad­shaw and in­to the back of the net from just in­side the pen­alty area to give the hosts a 2-0 cush­ion at ha­lf-time. In the sec­ond pe­riod, the sea­soned cam­paign­er ad­ded two more goals in the 50th and 76th min­utes re­spect­ively to com­plete his hat-trick be­fore Garry Birtles roun­ded off the scor­ing spree in the 86th min­ute wi­th a clev­er fin­ish to make it 5-0 in the fa­vour of the ho­me si­de. A Not­ting­ham na­tive, Birtles had joi­ned Man­chester Uni­ted from fel­low Fir­st Di­vi­sion club Not­ting­ham For­est for an es­tim­ated fee of £1.25 mil­lion in 1980, but failed to ful­fil his po­ten­tial whi­le at Old Traf­ford and re­turned to City Gro­und in 1982. The stri­ker la­ter ap­peared for Notts Coun­ty and Grimsby To­wn be­fore he called it a day in 1991. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Ga­ry Bai­ley, John Gid­man, Mar­tin Bu­chan, Kev­in Mor­an, Ar­thur Al­bis­ton, Sam­my Mc­Ilroy, Ray Wil­kins, Remi Moses, Garry Birtles, Frank Stapleton, Ste­ve Cop­pell. Sub­stitutes: No­ne. Wolver­hampton Wan­derers Te­am: Paul Brad­shaw, Ge­off Pal­mer, Derek Par­kin, Joe Galla­gh­er, Ge­orge Berry, Ken­ny Hi­b­bitt, Pe­ter Dan­iel, Alan Birch, Andy Gray, John Richards, Mi­ke Mat­thews. Sub­sti­tute: Hugh Atkinson.


Manchester United Quickfacts

On the 12th of Nov­ember 1980, Man­chester Uni­ted were held to a dis­ap­point­ing goal­less Fir­st Di­vi­sion draw by Wol­ves in front of an equally dis­ap­point­ing crowd of 38,000 people at Old Trafford.


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