Double by Solskjaer puts paid to Watford

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The Independent Football

So, no repeat of 1978 for Graham Taylor and his men. Back then, Taylor steered Watford to a victory, at Old Trafford, in this same competition when the Hornets were in the old Third Division.

So, no repeat of 1978 for Graham Taylor and his men. Back then, Taylor steered Watford to a victory, at Old Trafford, in this same competition when the Hornets were in the old Third Division.

Those were the days when United would field a full-strength side in the League Cup. But those days are long gone and on Hallowe'en, a full-strength Watford team did not begin to frighten their opposition, which featured three players who are nowhere near first-team consideration for Alex Ferguson, yet strolled to a comfortable victory.

As is customary when the Worthington Cup makes its appearance in the week's fixture list, Ferguson rested players. There was no Fabien Barthez or David Beckham, let alone Andy Cole or Teddy Sheringham, while Roy Keane and Jaap Stam are injured. But Ferguson did pick Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer as his strikeforce.

It was Solksjaer who gave United the lead after 12 minutes, although the principal work was done by Fergie's understudies. Ronnie Wallwork won a crunching tackle on the right flank and slipped the ball to Luke Chadwick. His shot was parried by Alec Chamberlain but only as far as the Norwegian who was lurking six yards out.

It must all have been very dispiriting for Watford, who are on top of the First Division, unbeaten in the league all season, and who made only one change from their weekend 2-2 draw with Wolves, Tommy Smith coming in for Micah Hyde.

Not that it was all one-way traffic, as Allan Nielsen and Tommy Mooney both threatened Raimond Van der Gouw's goal early on but Yorke should have doubled the lead after 42 minutes only for Neil Cox to clear off the line.

Chadwick, an Under-21 international for England, set up United's second with eight minutes gone in the second half. However it was Yorke who started and finished the move.

On the edge of the penalty box, Yorke shaped as if to shoot but instead passed to Chadwick. His cross back into the area found the Tobagan, whose volley found its way past Chamberlain, albeit off the foot of Robert Page, to atone for his earlier miss.

If anyone needed reminding of the gulf in class between Premiership and the First Division, it was here, and Solskjaer's second, in the 81st minute, confirmed that message.

Van der Gouw was sent off four minutes later for a foul on Heidar Helguson but Tommy Mooney skied the penalty kick.

Watford (4-4-2): Chamberlain; Cox, Page, Ward, P Robinson (Foley, 63); Palmer, Nielsen, Wooter (Easton, h-t), Mooney; Noel-Williams (Helguson, 63), Smith. Substitutes not used: Gibbs, Easton, Day (gk).

Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Gouw; P Neville, O'Shea, Brown, M Clegg; Fortune, Wallwork (Stewart, 72), Greening, Chadwick; Yorke, Solskjaer Substitutes not used: Notman, Djordjic, Healy, Rachubka (gk).

Referee: M Messias (York).

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