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Thursday, October 14, 1999 Published at 08:15 GMT 09:15 UK

Sport: Football

Man Utd pay price for complacency

Lee Hendrie celebrates with goalscorer Ian Taylor as Villa go 2-0 up

Aston Villa 3-0 Man Utd

The credibility of the Worthington Cup was again thrown into doubt as a mixture of Manchester United youngsters and reserves were turfed out of the competition.

The BBC's Alan Green: "Any possible doubt of the outcome was removed"
Aston Villa - boasting a full-strength line-up - only needed to produce a routine display as goals from Julian Joachim, Ian Taylor and substitute Steve Stone took them into a fourth round clash with Southampton.

The result means United are now out of both domestic cup competitions by the second week of October

The Treble-winners had already been told they could sit out the FA Cup to allow them to concentrate on the World Club Championship next January.

It was the second defeat in a row for Ferguson's previously unbeatable side - following their 5-0 defeat by Chelsea 10 days ago.

[ image: Mark Bosnich receives a hostile reception on his return to Villa Park]
Mark Bosnich receives a hostile reception on his return to Villa Park
United manager Alex Ferguson fielded a side containing not a single first team regular.

Despite playing all his star names in his testimonial at Old Trafford on Monday, he selected a virtually unknown team at Villa Park.

Only Mark Bosnich and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be said to be regular members of Ferguson's first choice squad - and even they would not be in the strongest starting line-up.

The match marked Bosnich's first return to Villa Park since his summer move - and he was booed throughout by a Villa faithful still fuming at the manner of his departure.

While Ferguson has made no secret of his contempt for the Worthington Cup, as he focuses on glory in the Premiership and Champions League, Villa boss John Gregory sees the event as a chance of qualifying for the Uefa Cup next season.

And a 33,000 crowd in the Midlands were at least treated to a determined effort by the home side.

They soon established their ascendancy against inexperienced opponents and went ahead with a superb goal after 18 minutes.

Joachim received a pass from George Boateng with his back to the goal and turned past the challenges of John Curtis and Ronnie Wallwork before crashing an unstoppable shot past Bosnich.

Bosnich had to be at his sharpest to keep the score at 1-0 at half-time, denying Joachim with his legs and tipping a Taylor header around the bar.

[ image: Villa defender Gareth Barry holds off the challenge of Jordi Cruyff]
Villa defender Gareth Barry holds off the challenge of Jordi Cruyff
But Taylor was not to be denied four minutes into the second period when he doubled Villa's lead - thanks to some dismal defending by the United youngsters.

A long throw from Mark Delaney was back-headed across his own goal by United defender Danny Higginbottom and, after Joachim and John O'Shea had missed the ball, it fell to Taylor who made no mistake from close range.

Bosnich, pressed his claims for a Premiership recall by defying the constant abuse from the Holte End to save well from Lee Hendrie.

It was 83 minutes before United managed a real shot in anger - and then Villa's stand-in keeper Peter Enckelman did well to turn aside a powerful effort from substitute David Healy.

Villa struck again in injury time, Steve Stone netting his first goal for the club since his 5.5million move from Nottingham Forest last season.

Stone burst into the area onto a Darius Vassell through-ball before beating Bosnich from a narrow angle with a deflected effort.


Aston Villa: Enckelman, Ehiogu, Boateng, Taylor, Dublin, Thompson, Joachim, Barry, Hendrie, Delaney, Calderwood. Subs: Watson, Merson, Vassell, Stone, Oakes.

Man Utd: Bosnich, Curtis, Cruyff, Solskjaer, Clegg, Higginbottom, Wallwork, Greening, O'Shea, Chadwick, Twiss. Subs: Notman, Culkin, Healy, Roche, Wellens.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds)

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