Football: Action Replay - Briggs in tears after United's record home defeat

Manchester United 2 Sheffield Wednesday 7

RONNIE BRIGGS, a little boy lost in a match labelled "He men only", fumbled Manchester United out of the FA Cup last night. The floodlit fury of a screaming, roaring whistling 65,000 Old Trafford crowd overwhelmed 17-year-old Briggs, United's regular third-team goalkeeper only 10 days ago.

He had a nightmare in a dream match and in seven dreadful minutes presented Sheffield Wednesday with three goals. The score zoomed from 1-1 to 4-1 against United as Briggs let a shot from Alan Finney spin out of his arms (30 minutes), grasped with wild inaccuracy at a header from Keith Ellis (33 minutes) and, after diving bravely at the toes of Ellis, failed to grab the ball (37 minutes).

And there were no smiles in the Irish eyes of Briggs when the whistle mercifully ended the slaughter at 7-2, United's worst post-war home defeat.

The boy, in white pants six inches too short for his lanky legs, came off the field last and alone - clutching his cap, covering his tears with his left hand and loping with schoolboy awkwardness towards the players' tunnel.

In his last stride he paused to look up shyly at the packed stand, expecting, perhaps, assault or abuse. He received neither. Manchester, bless its broken, sporting heart, gave him a cheer.

So now Sheffield go to Leyton Orient in the fifth round for London's only Cup tie. Orient manager Les Gore watched this replay and must have been impressed by an all-round side that can play rough or smooth.

They needed their toughness against some of the tackles of United captain Maurice Setters and inside-right Nobby Stiles. But these were jarring notes in the subtle, inventive rhythm of United's attack. I am sure they would have won but for this difference - United were shooting against Ron Springett of England, Wednesday only against shattered Briggs of the `A' team.

Goals: Fantham (3) 0-1; Pearson (4) 1-1; Finney (30) 1-2; Ellis (33) 1-3; Ellis (37) 1-4; Fantham (52) 1-5; Dawson 2-5 (65); Ellis (74) 2- 6; Finney (84) 2-7.

Manchester United: Briggs; Brennan, Cantwell; Setters, Foulkes, Nicholson; Quixall, Stiles, Dawson, Pearson, Charlton.

Sheffield Wednesday: Springett; Johnson, Megson; McAnearney, O'Donnell, Kay; Wilkinson, Craig, Ellis, Fantham, Finney.

Postscript:

Wednesday were eventually knocked out by Burnley in the quarter-finals but went on to claim the runners-up spot behind Tottenham in the First Division championship. Briggs played only 11 games for United (who finished a distant seventh in the League that season) and three years later moved to Swansea City. He also played for Bristol Rovers and won two caps for Northern Ireland.

Arts and Entertainment
TVSabotage, a major meltdown and, of course, plenty of sauce
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100'Geography can be tough'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal looks dejected after Manchester United's 4-0 defeat by MK Dons on Tuesday night
sport
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?