Back in the day: In the Irish News on Jan 5, 1997 - Manchester United beat Tottenham in FA Cup clash
Manchester United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
GERRY FRANCIS’ rookies and reserves restored the battered pride of Tottenham before holders Manchester United won this battle of the FA Cup heavyweights.
A scrappy goal from Paul Scholes softened up the Londoners before David Beckham delivered a sensational knockout blow from an 81st minute free kick. But this was a brave and gutsy show from a side devastated physically by injuries and illness, and mentally by their seven-goal beating at Newcastle.
No-one gave Spurs a prayer in what looked the greatest mismatch since Frank Bruno took on Mike Tyson. They were without their established strikeforce of Teddy Sheringham, Chris Armstrong and Darren Anderton, plus flu-hit new Norwegian striker Steffen Iversen and big-money defender John Scales. Gary Mabbutt, Jason Dozell and Ronny Rosenthal were other notable absentees. And their morale was on the floor after two heavy beatings by Bolton and Newcastle in an eight-game run which had seen goalkeeper Ian Walker concede 21 goals.
United’s frustration was eased within four minutes of the restart with Scholes’ goal, the ginger-haired youngster taking a pass from Andy Cole before stretching to sweep a low rightfoot shot beyond Walker into the bottom right-hand corner, his fourth goal of the season.
Beckham then gave Walker no chance with a brilliantly curled free kick inside his right-hand post for his 10th goal of the season.
Alex Ferguson hailed Roy Keane as his man of the match “He was unbelievable, a planet above everyone else” and David Beckham for his 81st minute free kick which settled the issue: “It was a marvellous strike.”
Lamh Dhearg 1-12 Ballycastle 1-7
THE second semi-final of the Antrim junior football championship was finally decided at Casement Park after Division 3 football league champions Portglenone had finally exhausted all means of appeal against their defeat by the Hannastown men months ago.
The Lamh Dhearg men got off the mark with 10th and 11th minute points from Kevin Murray and Neill Fox but were always under the Ballycastle thumb and when Ronan Boyle pointed in 15 and James Connolly got an excellent 21st minute goal, a major upset looked on the cards. Four points in the final eight minutes, however, from Davy Vincent (22), Robbie Mervin (24), Neil Fox in 27 and Mervin again in (30) gave the Hannahstown side a one-point interval lead 0-6 to 1-2 and those Ballycastle wasted chances began to appear important.
Points from Alec Campbell and Chris McAuley in reply to Jim Heron’s second minute opener levelled matters for the first time and when Robbie Mervin and Mark McAreavy exchanged points in the 7th and 15th minutes it was again all square. Johnnie O’Neill then put the north Antrim men ahead on 17, which immediately prompted a Lamh Dhearg substitution, former county star Frank Fitzsimmons replacing his brother Gerry.
Immediately Fitzy levelled things for a third time in the 20th minute and when McAreavy and Mervin again exchanged 21st and 23rd minute points, once more this semi was in the melting pot at 0- 10 to 1-7. Fitzsimmons put Hannahstown ahead in 27, Herron opened a two-point gap in 29 and centre half-back Mickey Seenan kept an excellent performance with a goal just before shutdown.