English Premiership

Win marks Fergie anniversary

2011-11-05 19:57
Sir Alex Ferguson (AP Photo)

Manchester - Sir Alex Ferguson marked his 25th anniversary as Manchester United manager in subdued fashion as an own goal from former defender Wes Brown handed his team a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

The Old Trafford clash had been preceded by a brief, but poignant, ceremony to mark Ferguson's quarter-century in charge of the club, both sets of players forming a guard of honour to applaud the 69-year-old Scotsman onto the field.

United chief executive David Gill then announced that the club are to re-name Old Trafford's largest stand, the North Stand, as the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand, the first time an individual has been afforded such an honour at the stadium.

United have also commissioned a Ferguson statue, to be unveiled outside the stand, for the start of next season.

It was a gesture which clearly moved Ferguson, who said: "I'm happy to have had so many great matches here and so many of the greatest footballers this country has ever seen. I'd like to thank the fantastic supporters who have made this a very proud moment for me. Thank you so much."

However, the ceremonies over, the football that followed will hardly be remembered among the more shining moments of Ferguson's 25-year reign.

It took until first-half injury time for United to generate their first real opening, from which they took an undeserved lead into the dressing room.

Nani's right-hand corner took the faintest of touches from the head of Danny Welbeck and a far more significant touch off ex-United defender Brown on its way into the Sunderland goal.

It was rough justice on the visitors who had manfully overcome an early setback when promising forward Connor Wickham was taken off on a stretcher after only two minutes following an accidental collision with United's Nemanja Vidic.

Undaunted by the enforced change, Sunderland created the first chance when Sebastian Larsson shot into the side netting after 13 minutes with Nicklas Bendtner then forcing Anders Lindegaard into a full-stretch dive to keep out a 20-yard shot.

While United were limited to ineffective free-kicks and long-range shots, Sunderland looked the more dangerous side with Wickham's replacement Ji Dong-Won wasting two promising openings, missing the target from the edge of the United area on both occasions.

Finally, in the 43rd minute, United finally showed some life as Park Ji-Sung's attack ended with the ball falling to Phil Jones who volleyed over from 18 yards.

Soon after the restart, Nani's 25-yard free-kick beat the Sunderland wall but passed just wide of the goal before Park's cross was half cleared by Keiren Westwood's punch only for Javier Hernandez to hurry his shot.

The home side survived an anxious moment in the 67th minute when it appeared that referee Lee Mason had awarded a penalty for an alleged handball from Jones although he eventually, and correctly, gave United a free-kick instead.

Sunderland then had their goalkeeper Westwood to thank for remaining in contention as he made an acrobatic double-save to keep out efforts from Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra after persistent work in the area from Vidic.

But Ferguson's defence has not been at its usual resilient best this season and, in the 80th minute, Larsson's low centre was almost converted by Bendtner as he slid into the six-yard area.

Hernandez might have eased some of the strain on Ferguson and United when he gathered Michael Carrick's 86th minute pass but his shot, on the turn, was woefully off target.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

04 April 2015
Arsenal v Liverpool, Emirates Stadium 13:45
Everton v Southampton, Goodison Park 16:00
Leicester City v West Ham United, King Power Stadium 16:00
Swansea City v Hull City, Liberty Stadium 16:00
Manchester United v Aston Villa, Old Trafford 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Queens Park Rangers, The Hawthorns 16:00
Chelsea v Stoke City, Stamford Bridge 18:30
05 April 2015
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur, Turf Moor 14:30
Sunderland v Newcastle United, Stadium of Light 17:00
06 April 2015
Crystal Palace v Manchester City, Selhurst Park 21:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Would Lionel Messi be as potent in the EPL as he is in La Liga?

Love 2 Meet

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.