Football: Edwards equal to challenge

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The Independent Online
Brighton and Hove Albion. . .1

Manchester United. . . . . . 1

WITH Paul Gascoigne and Gary Lineker on their way from Tottenham in the summer the departure of unknown Matthew Edwards out of the same door was never going to create a stir. Last night Manchester United had cause to remember the 21-year-old as he swooped to deny them victory in the first defence of their trophy that's now the real thing.

A Coca-Cola Cup second-round tie that brought together the two sides from the 1983 FA Cup final was bound to come equipped with its fair share of missed chances.

There was none of the 'Smith must score' variety that guaranteed Brighton's hapless Gordon a fanzine title. Now the assistant manager of St Mirren, Smith says he is reminded of his lost Wembley opportunity every day of his life and there will be a few days between now and the Old Trafford return when Andy Kennedy, this week's signing from Watford, will regret his inability to find United's net.

The 65th-minute chance came inexplicably from Neil Webb whose performance teetered between the good and bad. He seems to have fallen out with manager Alex Ferguson and did himself no favours with an unforgivable pass inside his own area which Kennedy, showing the rustiness of a four-month absence from the game, sent straight at Gary Walsh.

Eight minutes later, and with the Second Division side firing on all cylinders, full-back Ian Chapman launched a high cross and Edwards, a free-transfer signing, was there at the far post to finish for his first senior goal.

Walsh was one of four changes as Ferguson looked towards next week's UEFA Cup second leg in Moscow and the need to give his fringe players, those who are English and eligible, a run-out.

With Webb, Walsh and Lee Martin to come in it has hardly weakened his team while the fourth replacement, winger Danny Wallace, provided the first-half goal that rewarded United's first half superiority.

Paul Ince, one player who deserves to be spared Ferguson's contention that his team were 'not up for it', shot from distance in the 37th minute as he was wont to do on a night when the Goldstone Ground thrilled once more to a big Cup occasion.

The ball struck Robert Codner and fell back to Ince who gave Wallace the invitation to cut inside and send a rising shot beyond Mark Beeney, who later was to distinguish himself with a remarkable double save from Brian McClair and Webb.

From a position of strength the Premier League challengers then sat back and allowed the underdogs to claim a foothold. 'We played it like a practice match and got the kind of result you would expect from that' Ferguson said. He will be happier if Bryan Robson and Paul Parker come through an A-team fixture on Saturday, their first game of the season.

Brighton and Hove Albion: Beeney; Chivers, Chapman, Wilkins, McCarthy, Foster, Crumplin, Edwards, Kennedy, Codner, Walker. Substitutes not used: Funnell, Wilkinson.

Manchester United: Walsh; Irwin, Martin, Bruce, Webb, Pallister, Kanchelskis (Beckham, 72), Ince, McClair, Hughes, Wallace. Substitute not used: Blackmore.

Referee: I Hemley (Bedfordshire).

Rotherham's Bermudan international, Shaun Goater, ran Premier League Everton ragged and the Merseyside giants were lucky to escape with only a 1-0 defeat at Millmoor last night. Neville Southall had to make a fine early save from Goater and after 19 minutes, when Nigel Johnson's free-kick cleared Everton's back-four, Goater raced clear to leave Southall helpless.

Paul McGrath, the Irish international, headed his first goal of the season to help Aston Villa to a 2-1 win at Oxford United. Fellow-defender Shaun Teale also scored. Joey Beauchamp scrambled in a last minute goal for Oxford.

Arsenal chase Keane,

Other match reports, page 39