Ipswich Town 3-2 Manchester United (September 1994)

Goalscorers: Paul Mason 15, 43, Eric Cantona 70, Paul Scholes 73, Steve Sedgley 80

Teams:

Ipswich Town: Craig Forrest, David Linighan, Steve Palmer, Steve Sedgley, Claus Thomsen, Frank Yallop, John Wark (Simon Milton 88), Gavin Johnson, Paul Mason, Adrian Paz (Bontcho Guentchev 79), Geraint Williams

Manchester United: Gary Walsh, Steve Bruce, Denis Irwin, Gary Pallister, Paul Ince, Roy Keane, Andrei Kanchelskis, Brian McClair (Nicky Butt 83), Ryan Giggs, Lee Sharpe (Paul Scholes 62), Eric Cantona

Referee: Peter Jones, Attendance: 22,553

Reigning champions Manchester United travelled to Portman Road where they were expected to comfortably get the better of Ipswich Town. The Red Devils had effectively won the title the previous season at this ground and were keen to keep up with the early season pacesetters, Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest.

Ipswich weren’t in the best of form. John Lyall’s side had managed just one victory all season and were coming off the back of a 2-1 home defeat to Norwich City in the East Anglian Derby. Their spirits might have been lifted when they saw the teams and Peter Schmeichel being a notable absentee. The Dane was not risked here with an important UEFA Champions League game in midweek in Istanbul against Galatasaray.

The Tractor Boys took advantage to grab the early initiative and the lead after just 15 minutes. Claus Thomsen produced a teasing cross and Paul Mason dived in to beat reserve goalkeeper Gary Walsh. At this stage, this was probably just a blot in the United copybook but concern grew two minutes before half-time for Alex Ferguson as his side went 2-0 down. Playing as an emergency left-back, Lee Sharpe lost his footing and this gave Mason the space to launch another shot on-goal that defeated Walsh comprehensively. Ferguson’s decision to leave out a more natural defender in David May had come back to haunt him.

Harsh words must have been said at half-time from the manager and he reacted past the hour mark. Sharpe, who wasn’t enjoying his afternoon, was sacrificed for Paul Scholes, who had scored twice in a midweek League Cup victory over Port Vale. It changed the momentum of the match as the champions started to demonstrate their clear class. With 20 minutes left, Roy Keane’s superb ball across the face of goal was tapped home by Eric Cantona to half the deficit. Three minutes later, they were back on level terms. Keane again broke clear down the right-hand side and produced another testing delivery which was clipped into the net at the near post by Scholes. Just 19-years-old, he had now scored three goals in a week and was clearly going to be an exciting talent for the future.

His contribution wasn’t enough though to salvage a point. With 10 minutes remaining, Frank Yallop galloped down the right-hand side, swung the ball into the box and there was ex-Tottenham midfielder Steve Sedgley to strike the winning goal past Walsh, via a deflection off Keane.

It was Ipswich’s first home Premier League victory since February and part of a run that saw Manchester United lose three consecutive away games. Ferguson’s men got their own back in the return meeting, thumping Ipswich 9-0 in March 1995 but this was the high point of the season for the men from Suffolk.

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