Football: Solskjaer provides a little bit extra

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The Independent Online
Manchester United 2 Bury 0 aet; score at 90 min 0-0

GOALS IN the second period of extra time from their Norwegian duo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Erik Nevland, took Manchester United's youngsters past determined opponents and into the fourth round of the Worthington Cup.

Bury had shown no inclination to play second fiddle to United's second string in normal time, but found it all a little too much for them as United stepped up the pressure with a penalty shoot-out looming.

Since United play their reserve games at Gigg Lane, it was always likely that fans who took the tram from Bury to last night's game would see some familiar faces. Many of those on view were considerably more familiar to them than to the Old Trafford regulars, so it was perhaps not surprising that United struggled for a long time to find their rhythm sufficiently to make progress in a competition they now seem to treat as a finishing school for their aspiring stand-ins.

Amid intermittent pulses of torrential rain, it was not a night on which anyone, first- teamer or second-teamer, found it easy to play decent football. Bury deserved much credit, however, for their resilience at the back and their occasional hints that they might snatch something at the other end.

They were, after all, able to claim until recently that they were, based on League position, the second most successful side in Greater Manchester and, if they were fazed by a crowd of over 54,000 - rather more than the Gigg Lane norm - they did not show it.

Bury were particularly lively up front after the second half introduction of their two substitutes, Andy Preece and Lutel James. Both went close to giving Bury a shock late lead, before Solskjaer and the excellent visiting goalkeeper, Dean Kiely, began a personal battle that was eventually resolved in United's favour.

Solskjaer had one effort admirably saved and saw another fly just too high towards the end of normal time but his persistence was eventually to pay.

James, signed on trial from Hyde United this week, went close again with a spectacular dipping shot, but then Solskjaer forced two more saves from Kiely, who was again showing why he is one of the most highly regarded goalkeepers outside the Premiership.

Wes Brown, brought on along with Paul Scholes to add some current first- team expertise to the efforts of United's novices, hammered a shot just over the bar as the pressure intensified.

In the first minute of the second period, Solskjaer finally had his way. Although Kiely might have got a touch to a precise low shot after a good build-up by Scholes and the debutant, Jonathan Greening, it squeezed just inside his post.

Greening, leggy and awkward to mark, also hit a post for United before Nevland, their second Norwegian, brought on as a half-time substitute, delivered the decisive blow.

Brown was the architect, putting in a low cross from the right which was met on the far post and forced home by Nevland to make United's night look a good deal more comfortable than it had been.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Gouw; Clegg (Brown, 70), Berg, May, Curtis; Wilson (Scholes, 70), P Neville, Cruyff, Mulryne (Nevland, h-t); Solskjaer, Greening. Substitutes not used: G Neville, Cooke.

Bury (3-5-2): Kiely; Swailes, Redmond, Lucketti; Daws, Woodward, Patterson (Matthews, 99), Johnrose, Barrick; D'Jaffo (Preece, 57), Ellis (James, 62). Substitutes not used: Foster, Kenny (gk).

Referee: K Burge (Tonypandy).