Jordan leads York to the promised land

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The Independent Online


York City 1 Manchester United 3 (York win 4-3 on aggregate)

It was just as well that Eric Cantona has returned for Manchester United, because little else is going right for them at the moment. A week after going out of the Uefa Cup, they were dismissed from the Coca-Cola Cup last night when they could not wholly repair the damage they had suffered in the first leg.

Second Division York worked prodigiously to restrict their more illustrious opponents to a victory that was not comprehensive enough. When United needed a torrent they could not quite find it, having to be content with two goals from Paul Scholes and another from Terry Cooke. In the end, Scott Jordan's 39th-minute strike proved to be the night's most relevant statistic.

It was a victory over two legs that was more meritorious because, after 14 minutes, York appeared about to be overwhelmed. Two goals down on the night, their chances of holding out seemed remote, but they scrapped for every loose ball, tackled furiously and just held on.

"After 20 minutes we took our foot off the pedal, got careless and were punished," Alex Ferguson, the United manager, said. "We had enough chances but couldn't quite pull it off. York worked very hard and deserved their night of glory."

Ferguson had promised to bring out the "big guns" in an attempt to overhaul the 3-0 first-leg deficit and none was of a higher calibre than Cantona, who had recovered sufficiently from his first game in eight months on Sunday to start.

After seven minutes, Andy Cole's cross from the right was too strong and Cantona had to salvage the attack from the opposite flank. His pass had the subtlety and weight his striking partner lacked and Scholes had one touch on the edge of the area before beating Andy Warrington. The 19-year-old York goalkeeper, making his first-team debut, had to wait another seven minutes for his next touch and again it was to pick the ball out of his net. This time there was a quick-fire burst of passes between Scholes, Cole and Ryan Giggs down the left wing before Cooke sidefooted in at the far post.

All this pointed to United wiping out their handicap with some ease, but York struck back after 39 minutes to push United back to a two-goal distance. Paul Barnes, who scored twice at Old Trafford, swerved past Gary Pallister but, as he was about to shoot, Steve Bruce slid in to block. It was to no avail as Jordan pushed the rebound past Peter Schmeichel.

That goal set the parameters for the second half. But, for all their attacking, United had to wait until 10 minutes from time to get their third goal, Scholes shooting in after Cole had turned and dribbled across the area. By then it was too late.

York City (4-4-2): Warrington; McMillan, Tutill, Barras, Hall; Atkin, Williams, Pepper, Jordan; Barnes (Baker, 89), Peverell (Naylor, 90). Substitute not used: Oxley.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Schmeichel; G Neville, Bruce, Pallister, Sharpe (P Neville, 67); Cooke (Keane, 53), Beckham, Scholes, Giggs; Cole, Cantona. Substitute not used: McClair.

Referee: J Winter (Middlesbrough).

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