Football: United blown off course by Gayle's blast

FA CUP: Holders suffer a rude awakening in a favourite haunt while Leeds' George Graham has a happier return to Highbury

Wimbledon 1 Manchester United 0

Wimbledon have not enjoyed many victories over Manchester United during their decade in the top flight, just two in the previous 19 in League and cup before last night. This one was all the sweeter, perhaps, because it underlined Wimbledon's arrival as a force in the English game. No more are they mere underdogs just having a good day.

Victory in this fourth-round FA Cup replay, secured by a Marcus Gayle header after 63 minutes, produced a fitting climax to a trilogy of matches between the two clubs in the space of 11 days, earning Wimbledon a home tie with Queen's Park Rangers in the next round.

Furthermore it kept them on course for one of the season's most unlikely trebles: Wimbledon already in the semi-final of the Coca-Cola Cup and in sixth place in the Premiership. "It's a case of showing how far we've come," said their manager, Joe Kinnear, who was in deliberate low-key mode. "We used to live in fear of playing the big clubs. Now we have quality players and the club is progressing in the right manner."

Although the Premiership leaders eventually competed with spirit in this tie, there was only ever going to be one winner and it was not going to be the holders, who must have known from the early minutes they would not be gracing Wembley for a fourth consecutive time. Indeed one has to go back to 1993 to find their last FA Cup defeat away from Wembley, at Bramall Lane against Sheffield United.

An indication of just how much this tie meant to Wimbledon could be gleaned from the altercation that two of their most battle-hardened competitors, Vinnie Jones and Mick Harford, had in the closing minutes over who should have picked up Gary Pallister at a corner in the closing minutes. Kinnear assured us that it finished in handshakes - "and perhaps one or two love- bites".

Wimbledon were the more assertive from the start. They opted to play all three of their distinguished strikers, Dean Holdsworth, Gayle and Efan Ekoku, the latter moving forward at the start of the second half to produce a genuine three-pronged attack. It was not only the pace of Wimbledon's attack which troubled United but the sheer variety of it. Their willingness to run at Pallister and company from all angles had them back-pedalling frantically throughout the first half.

United got forward often enough in the opening half but their attacks lacked ingenuity and certainly the element of pacy surprise of Wimbledon's.

Ekoku might have scored after just two minutes but he mis-cued with a header from close range. Then Holdsworth and Oyvind Leonhardsen, both receiving from Ekoku, failed to deliver from goalscoring positions before the Nigerian decided to take matters into his own hands. A powerful run swept him past Gary Neville, but Peter Schmeichel was off his line like a whippet to block the shot.

A booking for Neville was not the best way for United to start the second half, but there was temporary relief for them when David Beckham, receiving from a Schmeichel throw-out, embarked on a thrilling run straight down the middle before unleashing a shot from 30 yards which, had it been a foot lower, would have qualified as another candidate for goal of the season from Beckham at this stadium.

The Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan, however, was not going to be lobbed from 50 yards by Beckham or anyone else this night. Somewhat bizarrely, a brief period of concerted United pressure gave way to the only goal of the game. Sullivan, who had kept United waiting for their recent League victory, now denied them a certain goal as he thrust out a hand to Pallister's close-range header.

Wimbledon's winner was of similar design. Kenny Cunningham, taking a return pass from Jones after a short throw-in, crossed from out near the corner flag and Gayle powered home a header which brooked no argument.

Wimbledon (4-4-2): Sullivan; Cunningham, Perry, Blackwell, Kimble; Ekoku, Earle, Jones, Leonhardsen (McAllister, 88); Holdsworth (Harford, 90), Gayle (Goodman, 85).

Manchester United (4-4-2): Schmeichel; G Neville, Pallister, Johnsen, Irwin (McClair, 81); Poborsky (Solskjaer, 70), Beckham, Keane, Giggs; Cole, Cantona. Substitute not used: Casper.

Referee: G Poll (Tring).

More reports, results, page 25

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence