Wimbledon 0 Man United 3

David Beckham

Wim­bledon 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 3, Sel­hurst Park, Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue, Au­gust 17, 1996. Man­chester Uni­ted had very few prob­lems in over­com­ing un­fan­cied Wim­bledon at Sel­hurst Park in their open­ing en­counter of the 1996-97 sea­son. A goal apiece from Eric Can­tona, De­nis Ir­win, and Da­vid Beck­ham ev­entually saw Uni­ted win the ga­me by a 3-0 score.

Man­chester United´s sea­son open­er ag­ainst The Wombles at the latter´s ad­op­ted ho­me at Sel­hurst Park in So­uth Lon­don gave their sup­port­ers a good taste of just what Al­ex Ferguson´s young and ex­cit­ing play­ers were cap­able of. The Man­chester Uni­ted Fir­st Te­am Squad for the 1996-97 cam­paign con­tained goal­keep­ers Pe­ter Schmei­chel, Paul Gib­son, Kev­in Pilk­ing­ton, and Rai­mond van der Gouw; de­fenders Ga­ry Ne­ville, De­nis Ir­win, Da­vid May, Ga­ry Pal­lister, Phil Ne­ville, Co­lin Mur­dock, Ronny John­sen, John O’Kane, Paul Teath­er, Ron­nie Wall­work, Mi­chael Clegg, Chris Casper, John Curtis, Mi­chael Ap­pleton, and Pat Mc­Gib­bon; mid­field­ers Terry Cooke, Eric, Can­tona, Nicky Butt, Da­vid Beck­ham, Ry­an Gig­gs, Grant Breb­n­er, Jordi Cruy­ff, Karel Pobor­sky, Roy Ke­ane, Paul Scho­les, Si­mon Dav­ies, Ben Thorn­ley, and Philip Mulryne; and for­wards Andy Cole, Jon Mack­en, Al­ex Not­man, Bri­an Mc­Clair, and Ole Gun­nar Sol­skjaer. Fer­guson had strengthened his Old Traf­ford squad dur­ing the sum­mer of 1996 by sign­ing goal­keeper Rai­mond van der Gouw; de­fender Ronny John­sen; mid­field­ers Karel Pobor­sky and Jordi Cruy­ff, and for­ward Ole Gun­nar Sol­skjaer, whi­le goal­keeper To­ny Coton; de­fender Ste­ve Bru­ce; and mid­field­ers Lee Sharpe and Paul Par­ker had all left the club.

Double win­ners Man­chester Uni­ted had de­mol­ished New­castle Uni­ted by 4-0 at Wemb­ley Sta­dium in the FA Char­ity Shield the week be­fore and were over­whelm­ing fa­vour­ites to be­at The Crazy Gang. Uni­ted took the ad­vant­age in the Pre­miership meet­ing ag­ainst Joe Kinnear´s Wim­bledon thanks to French goal plun­der­er Eric Can­tona who net­ted wi­th a dev­ast­at­ing shot from in­side the eight­een-yard area in the twenty-fifth min­ute of the fir­st ha­lf. Man­chester Uni­ted con­tin­ued to dom­in­ate pro­ceed­ings in the sec­ond pe­riod of the tie and Re­pub­lic of Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­al De­nis Ir­win ev­entually made it 2-0 to the vis­it­ing si­de when the ex­per­i­enced cam­paign­er ma­naged to find the tar­get from a rather dif­fi­cult angle in the fifty-sixth min­ute of the con­test. Shortly af­ter­wards, how­ever, Oyvind Leon­hard­sen came clo­se to scor­ing for The Dons, but the strong run­ning Nor­we­gi­an mid­field en­gine was denied by Man­chester Uni­ted and Den­mark goal­keeper Pe­ter Schmei­chel. Then, in the fi­nal min­ute of the tussle, twenty-one-year-old mid­field play­maker Da­vid Beck­ham power­ed an ab­so­lutely as­ton­ish­ing long dis­tance shot from his own ha­lf pa­st be­wildered ho­me goal­keeper Neil Sul­li­van and in­to the back of the net to make the fi­nal sco­reline read 3-0 in the fa­vour of Uni­ted. Wim­bledon Te­am: Neil Sul­li­van, Ken­ny Cun­ning­ham, Bri­an Mc­Al­lister, Chris Perry, Mar­cus Gayle, Ben Thatch­er, Rob­bie Earle, Vin­nie Jones, Oyvind Leon­hard­sen, Andy Clarke, Dean Holdsworth. Sub­stitutes: Paul Heald, Dean Black­well, Neal Ar­d­ley, Efan Ekoku, Mick Har­ford. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Pe­ter Schmei­chel, De­nis Ir­win, Phil Ne­ville, Da­vid May, Roy Ke­ane, Ga­ry Pal­lister, Nicky Butt, Paul Scho­les, Eric Can­tona, Da­vid Beck­ham, Jordi Cruy­ff. Sub­stitutes: Rai­mond van der Gouw, Ga­ry Ne­ville, Ronny John­sen, Bri­an Mc­Clair, Karel Poborsky.


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