By Robert Morris
A 93rd minute goal from Ji Sung Park snatched all three points for United in a 2-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers, as they continued their pressure on leaders Chelsea.
Today marked Sir Alex Ferguson’s 24th year in charge of the club, giving the squad all the more reason to impress; although one player in particular would have been desperate to make his mark, as the injury-stricken Owen Hargreaves was given his first start in over 2 years. With just five minutes on the clock, disaster struck. The England midfielder’s comeback was abruptly brought to an end when he pulled up with a hamstring injury and was quickly replaced by Bebe.
A running theme of late has been United’s inability to start a game at a high tempo; it was therefore no surprise then that today was no exception. The Red Devil’s posed little threat in the first-half and struggled to create goal scoring opportunities. Nevertheless, against the run of play, they took the lead just seconds before the break. Wolves’ midfield failed to close down Darren Fletcher, giving him plenty of time to make an eye-of-a-needle pass for Park, which allowed the Korean to sweep a comfortable finish passed Mark Hahnemann from inside the penalty area. Mick McCarthy had every reason to feel disappointed at half-time, as his side was arguably far better than a below-par United.
Wolves returned from their dressing room with renewed optimism and began to dictate possession. The men in orange certainly deserved to be level and on the 66th minute they were. Nenad Milijas’ dragged effort was pounced on by substitute Sylvain Ebanks-Blake who span a flat-footed Nemanja Vidic before firing the ball perfectly between Edwin van der Sar’s legs, to score against his former club.
At 1-1 the game was on a knife edge. Both teams held realistic ambitions to push forward and win the match, however, as the game crept into the final few minutes it appeared a draw was on the cards. However, it has been United’s never-say-die attitude that has lead them to 35 trophies under Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, therefore it was perhaps fitting that on his anniversary the Red Devil’s would snatch a last-gasp winner. Park made his way off the flank and dribbled unchallenged into the penalty area before creeping a left-foot shot in the bottom hand corner past Hahnemann’s outstretched glove.
There is a strong belief within this United side now that they can win that all-important 19th league title, a record held by rivals Liverpool. The Reds were by no means superb today, however, one important fact remains: they are still unbeaten in the league this season.