Sheff United 1 Man United 0
Sheffield United 1 Manchester United 0, Bramall Lane, English Football League First Division Fixture, September 30, 1972. The 3-0 triumph over Derby County the previous Saturday proved to be a false down as Manchester United succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Sheffield United whose winning goal came from Alan Woodward who scored from the penalty spot with two minutes left of normal time.
Manchester United had defeated Derby County, drawn against Leicester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, and West Ham United, and suffered defeats against Ipswich Town, Liverpool, Everton, Coventry City, and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last ten First Division matches and were next to bottom in the standings. Sheffield United, on the other hand, had overcome Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, Southampton, and Chelsea, drawn against Stoke City, Ipswich Town, and Norwich City, and been defeated by Leeds United, Newcastle United, and Liverpool and were sitting comfortably in mid-table. Manchester United had defeated fellow early pacesetters Sheffield United 2-0 at Old Trafford the previous season thanks to goals from George Best and Alan Gowling in the 83rd and 86th minutes respectively, while the reverse fixture at Bramall Lane had ended in a 1-1 stalemate, with winger Geoff Salmons giving the home side the lead five minutes before the sound of the half-time signal and veteran player David Sadler equalising for the visitors in the 72nd minute of the tie.
Manchester United, whose new £200,000 signing from Third Division side AFC Bournemouth, Ted MacDougall, was not in the squad agaisnt Sheffield United, had plenty of decent opportunities to score before and after the break, but their strikers appeared lethargic and inept in front of goal. On a more positive note, Martin Buchan enjoyed a good afternoon and governed the Manchester United defence with both authority and calm, while fellow defender Steve James also delivered an impressive performance during the whole of the ninety minutes; commanding in the air and composed with the ball at his feet. Sheffield United and England U23 international midfielder Tony Currie, for his part, gave another excellent account of himself and the former Watford player had several attempts at goal during both halves of the game, including a dangerous shot in the second frame which forced a magnificent save from Manchester United custodian Alex Stepney. The Sheffield United players appealed instantly and loudly for a penalty-kick as Alan Woodward was taken down inside the eighteen-yard box by James in the 73rd minute of proceedings, but official Norman Paget of Coventry decided to take no action at all. The Bramall Lane encounter looked to be ending goalless until the 88th minute of the meeting when Manchester United and Wales forward Ronald “Wyn” Davies, who had been instrumental in the 3-0 victory over Derby at Old Trafford, conceded a penalty for a perfectly legitimate challenge on Sheffield United central defender John Flynn inside the area. Woodward calmly walked up to take the spot-kick and the 26-year-old winger made no mistakes whatsoever in dispatching the ball into the back of the net in front of a 37,000 strong home crowd. It was without doubt a brilliantly taken penalty and Stepney, who had been outstanding between the sticks throughout the match, could not in any way be blamed for conceding the goal.
Elsewhere in the First Division, Liverpool beat Leeds United 2-1 in front of a 46,000 crowd at Elland Road where Larry Lloyd and Phil Boersma scored one goal each for The Anfielders, Coventry City suffered a 3-1 loss to Chelsea at Highfield Road, West Ham United emerged 2-0 victors over Birmingham City at Upton Park, Crystal Palace fell 2-0 to Norwich City at Selhurst Park, Everton defeated Newcastle United 3-1 at Goodison Park, Tottenham Hotspur went down 2-1 to Derby County at Baseball Ground, Wolverhampton Wanderers ran out 5-3 winners over Stoke City at Molineux, Ipswich Town were defeated 2-0 by Leicester City at Portman Road, while Arsenal edged out Southampton by 1-0 at Highbury thanks to a second-half goal from George Graham. In the Second Division, Aston Villa emerged 1-0 winners against Millwall at Villa Park courtesy of a penalty goal from Bruce Rioch, Blackpool were beaten 1-0 by Middlesbrough at Bloomfield Road, Bristol City were held to a 0-0 draw by Huddersfield Town at Ashton Gate, Brighton and Hove Albion succumbed to 2-0 defeat at the hands of Portsmouth at Fratton Park, Luton Town and Burnley shared the points in an enthralling 2-2 draw at Kenilworth Road, Queens Park Rangers outclassed Cardiff City 3-0 at Shepherd´s Bush, Carlisle United drew 1-1 against Sheffield Wednesday at Brunton Park, Fulham and Orient shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage, Hull City overcame Swindon Town 3-2 at Boothferry Park, Nottingham Forest were trashed 4-1 by Sunderland at Roker Park, while Oxford United lost 2-0 to Preston North End at Manor Ground.
Following the frustrating and unnecessary 1-0 defeat against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, Manchester United were now bottom of the First Division table with six points, one point behind both Coventry City and Stoke City. The South Yorkshire club, meanwhile, remained in mid-table on thirteen points, along with Chelsea, Leeds United, Ipswich Town, and Norwich City. For their next First Division fixture, Frank O´Farrell´s relegation threatened Manchester United side would now make the journey to the Black Country to take on fifteenth placed West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns, hoping to win their first away game of the 1972-73 season. Sheffield United Team: Tom McAllister, Steve Goulding, Len Badger, Ted Hemsley, John Flynn, Eddie Colquhoun, Tony Currie, Trevor Hockey, Alan Warboys, Billy Dearden, Alan Woodward. Substitutes: None. Manchester United Team: Alex Stepney, Martin Buchan, Tony Dunne, Steven James, Ian Donald, Tony Young, Willie Morgan, Bobby Charlton, Wyn Davies, Ian Storey-Moore, George Best. Substitute: Sammy McIlroy.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Manchester United defeated Sheffield United 3-0 in a League Division One game at Bramall Lane on the 14th of October 1967 thanks to one goal each from Brian Kidd, Denis Law, and John Aston.