Football: Little moment of history

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The Independent Online
Stoke City 2

Forsyth 30, Oldfield 35

York City 0

Attendance: 11,795

BROTHERLY LOVE, for this afternoon at least, went out of the window as Brian Little, the manager of Stoke, saw his side coast to a win over York, who are managed by his younger brother Alan.

In the first English league match between opposing sides managed by brothers since Bobby and Jack Charlton faced each other in 1974, Brian was leaving little room for sentiment. In his programme notes, Brian wrote a cursory two-line comment, despite the almost unique nature of this game, while the post-match acknowledgement between them was more handshake than bear- hug.

But Brian hinted at deeper feelings than his impassive face usually lets on when he said afterwards: "It gave me no pleasure in beating my brother but we might have a chat, cup of tea or a beer afterwards." Little junior did not give much away either: "It was not an issue for me facing Brian, although it has been for everyone else."

The goals that kept Stoke at the top of Division Two took longer to arrive than expected, given York's position in the bottom third of the table, but the first was worth waiting for, coming at the end of a swift four- man move.

Kevin Keen in the centre of midfield spread the play out to Bryan Small on the left touchline. His powerful run took him to the byline and he crossed to the far post where Peter Thorne was waiting to head it back across goal and into the path of Richard Forsyth, who tapped in from close range.

Any doubt about which of the Little brothers would be the happier at full-time was erased just five minutes later. A hopeful ball was lofted into the York penalty box and although Barry Jones managed to head it back out, his clearance only went as far as David Oldfield, who casually stroked the ball into the top corner.

Any hope Alan Little had of sharing the points, and a measure of family pride, disappeared when, with 20 minutes left, Rodney Rowe - from only six yards out - failed to score after receiving a clearance from the Stoke goalkeeper Carl Muggleton and, shortly after, an unmarked Richard Cresswell blasted wide from close range.

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