Football: The son worshipper

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MANCHESTER UNITED may not be defending the trophy but that did not stop their manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, celebrating a remarkable FA Cup success yesterday.

With his own side sitting out the third round because loftier ambitions prevented them entering the world's oldest football competition, he travelled to watch Wrexham yesterday and saw his son, Darren, score a splendid winning goal as the Second Division side produced one of the day's upsets by beating Middlesbrough 2-1 in Wales.

Ferguson dribbled along the edge of the box before unleashing an unstoppable 18-yard drive into the bottom corner.

The former Wolves midfielder is on a short-term contract at The Racecourse ground and Flynn is keen to tie him to a longer deal. He said: "Darren was exceptional today."

Middlesbrough's manager, Bryan Robson, tried to play down the defeat, saying: "It's not disastrous for our season because everybody's got the chance of putting it right in the [Worthington Cup] quarter-final against Tranmere next week."

That may not be so easy. Tranmere produced an upset of their own yesterday by beating West Ham. Nick Henry scored the only goal - his first for the First Division side. In classic cup style, Tranmere put their faith in more basic abilities, while West Ham failed to find their subtler touch in the tricky conditions.

Burnley, of the Second Division, also helped to reinforce giant-killing traditions by bridging the widening gap between the game's haves and have- nots to increase Derby County's current troubles. They won 1-0 away to Jim Smith's struggling Premiership side, with Andrew Cooke scoring the only goal after 62 minutes.

Reports, pages 2-4