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Sunday, April 18, 1999 Published at 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK

Forgotten frontmen keep United on track

S-men: Sheringham is congratulated by fellow goalscorers Solskjaer and Scholes

Man Utd 3-0 Sheff Wed

Manchester United kept their Premiership challenge on course - thanks to their second string front pairing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham.

Alex Ferguson: "I'm delighted with the way the team played"
With next week's European Cup semi-final against Juventus very much on his mind, United manager Alex Ferguson rested a host of key players.

And the home side's emphatic victory merely emphasised the strength of Ferguson's squad, as his reserves brushed aside Danny Wilson's lacklustre Sheffield Wednesday.

In the absence of first-choice strikers Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, it was perennial substitutes Sheringham and Solskjaer who did the damage, grabbing first-half goals to put United four points clear at the top of the table.

Ferguson's midfield triumvirate of Roy Keane, Nicky Butt and second-half goalscorer Paul Scholes dominated throughout and Wednesday could manage little resistance to offer in the way of comfort for title rivals Arsenal and Chelsea.

Mark of respect

Before the game a minute's silence to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster was impeccably observed.

[ image: Solskjaer beats Thome and hooks home the first goal]
Solskjaer beats Thome and hooks home the first goal
Ferguson then took the microphone and appealed to the United fans to get behind their team, in response to a flat atmosphere ay Old Trafford in recent weeks.

Benito Carbone was the liveliest player on the pitch early on and in the space of two minutes Wednesday's Italian star saw a swerving effort turned away by Raimond Van Der Gouw and then sent a volley over the bar.

But that was virtually the end of Wednesday's attacking threat as United took a grip.

Sheringham, who had come close with a well-struck free-kick, should have put the home team ahead after 21 minutes but, with the goal at his mercy, he headed wide.

United were now in the groove and visiting keeper Pavel Srnicek came to Wednesday's rescue with a stunning one-handed save to keep out a header from Scholes that looked destined for the bottom corner.

Sheringham's landmark

[ image: Midfielder Butt crashes into Wednesday keeper Srnicek]
Midfielder Butt crashes into Wednesday keeper Srnicek
The goal the home faithful had been waiting for arrived in the 35th minute. Keane scuffed his cross, but Sheringham's desperate lunge put the ball into the danger zone and Solskjaer beat his marker to thump it past Srnicek.

The Norwegian could have made it 2-0 soon after, but Srnicek reinforced his reputation as one of the Premiership's most effective shot-stoppers with another sharp save.

But the two-goal lead was not far off - and this time the reserve front pair reversed their roles.

A minute before half-time Keane fed Solskjaer on the right and his pinpoint cross was met by Sheringham, who flicked a header into the far corner for his 250th career goal.

Stroll on

The second half resembled something of a training session for United, as demoralised Wednesday allowed the home side to stroll through the contest.

[ image: No way through: Andy Booth holds off Jesper Blmoqvist]
No way through: Andy Booth holds off Jesper Blmoqvist
And Scholes wrapped up the victory with a stinging angled shot past Srnicek on 62 minutes.

With the three points secured and almost half-an-hour left, Ferguson was able to indulge in the luxury of taking off Keane and Jaap Stam.

And, to the United manager's delight, there was to be little further action as a less than competitive match, which saw no bookings, fizzled to the inevitable conclusion.


Man Utd: Van Der Gouw, G. Neville, Stam, Brown, P. Neville, Butt, Scholes, Keane, Blomqvist, Sheringham, Solskjaer. Subs: Yorke, Irwin, May, Beckham, Greening.

Sheff Wed: Srnicek, Atherton, Thome, Walker, Hinchcliffe, Alexandersson, Jonk, Sonner, Rudi, Carbone, Booth. Subs: Pressman, Scott, Briscoe, Stefanovic, Cresswell.

Referee: N Barry (Scunthorpe)

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