Football: Smith sees red over Beckham

Derby County 1 Manchester United 2 Delap 90 Butt 53,Cole 83 Half-time: 0-0 Attendance: 33,370

IF WE needed something to renew our faith in the English game after Wednesday's debacle at Wembley, this was not it. An ugly contest, in which the Premiership leaders, Manchester United, claimed victory in a convincing enough style once the Derby defender Stefan Schnoor had been sent off seven minutes before the interval, was followed by bitter words from the defeated manager, Jim Smith. The veteran of three decades in management accused the Manchester United players, David Beckham and Gary Neville, of contributing to the German's dismissal after they had dashed many yards to encourage the referee Mike Reed to order him off for a second bookable offence.

"You don't need to do that," Smith insisted. "It's wrong of pros to try to get a fellow professional sent off. I was disappointed because the referee was not going to give anything and then he reacted to the United players' demands."

Schnoor had initially been cautioned for dissent after comments he made to a linesman, following a foul on Dwight Yorke. Three minutes later, he foolishly felled the Trinidadian striker down from behind. It was then that the two United players made their presence felt, and after a delay, Reed issued a red. When asked if big-name England players had more influence over a referee than his men, Smith retorted, tongue-in-cheek: "They're all on first-name terms. We don't know them that well. The ref asked Beckham how Posh Spice was and then sent our player off. He asked him where they're eating tonight."

Smith, whose team incurred a total of eight yellows to United's one, admitted that his player was "silly to have a little go at the linesman", but added that "Cole and Yorke were basically doing that all the time". He added: "When you send someone off it's got to be for a serious offence. The referee gave himself a problem by booking him earlier for something like that."

Schnoor's red was the prelude to a period of frenetic activity, with Reed in danger of losing control as he let off Yorke after he had berated a linesman and then ignored a horrendous challenge by Dean Sturridge on Phil Neville. The half ended to a cacophany of booing, and the crowd howling: "You don't know what you're doing" at the referee, but fortunately the players responded to their better natures after the break. Smith's counterpart, Sir Alex Ferguson, predictably saw the sending-off rather differently. "We're trying to outlaw the tackle from behind and he went right through the player," he maintained. "The referee had no choice. You can't blame the system for that."

It would have already required a Herculean effort to overturn the Treble- winners. Schnoor's dismissal made the result inevitable although to their credit there was no meek capitulation by the Rams, who have lost Stefanio Eranio with a broken leg at Anfield and Esteban Fuertes at passport control and appear unlikely to sign either Colin Hendry or Craig Burley because of contractual problems.

Nevertheless, Sir Alex Ferguson could not have chosen more willing opponents, or more providential circumstances than Smith's stricken side as his team enjoyed a pre-Fiorentina warm-up three days before their Champions' League visit to Italy.

For Jaap Stam & Co, combatting the 18-year-old striker Marvin Robinson, making his full debut, was the kind of preparation that was ideal before they endeavour to contain the rather more substantial threat of Gabriel Batistuta.

Ferguson had decided to leave England's two-goal scorer at Hampden, Paul Scholes, on the bench, but Gary Neville returned to join his brother Phil in defence. Nicky Butt, like Neville G, had missed both England games and he looked the most influential player on the pitch, scoring the first goal with a sweet half-volley in the 52nd minute and dominating the midfield with Roy Keane. Andy Cole added a second with a precise heeader from Ryan Giggs' cross, his 14th of the season, to nudge Kevin Keegan of his continued scoring prowess. "In the second half we had all the pressure and should have won comfortably," Ferguson said. "But we were careless around the box."

Although Rory Delap ensured a stirring finale with his goal in added time Derby's only other threat to United all afternoon, from the midfielder Darryl Powell, had rebounded off his own player. That said it all about Derby's wretched afternoon and Smith said: "It's difficult enough to play against Manchester United with 11 men, let alone 10. But my players came out of it with a lot of credit." Not so, Raimond van der Gouw. Derby's goal, a header from Seth Johnson's free-kick, found United's notional third choice keeper wanting. The Dutchman, preferred to Massimo Taibi in the absence of the injured Mark Bosnich, was nowhere as Delap pounced and it leaves Ferguson with a dilemma yet again as he prepares for Tuesday night.

Derby's plight will have been regarded with sadness by Jim Smith's former assistant, Steve McClaren, who has filled the void left by Brian Kidd. He was making his first return to the club he left behind in a relatively healthy state but is now destined to continue to inhabit the Premiership poor house unless Smith can acquire the playing assets he so desperately craves.

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial