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Monday, May 10, 1999 Published at 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK


United sneak back to the top

Dwight Yorke nods home the only goal of the game against Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough 0-1 Man Utd

Manchester United moved back to the top of the Premiership, as Dwight Yorke scored on the stroke of half-time to secure a vital away victory over Middlesbrough.


Alan Green reports for BBC Radio 5 Live
Alex Ferguson's men never found top form at the Riverside, but they were always in control of a strangely muted match and did enough to claim the three points.

United have now moved ahead of Arsenal at the top of the table on goals scored as the Premiership title race enters its nerve-jangling final week.

With Chelsea's challenge almost over, the other contenders have two matches left each, with Arsenal heading to Leeds on Tuesday and United visiting Blackburn the following day.

The title will then be decided next Sunday, when United host Spurs and Aston Villa travel to Arsenal.


[ image: Brian Deane battles for the ball with United's Gary Neville]
Brian Deane battles for the ball with United's Gary Neville
The decisive moment in a scrappy match came in first-half injury-time, Yorke netting from close range after Teddy Sheringham had headed the ball across the face of the goal.

Boro were furious, arguing that both players had been in offside positions when the ball was played into the box.

But it was no less than United deserved, having had a legitimate looking strike ruled out in debatable circumstances earlier in the half.

Sheri starts

United boss Alex Ferguson rested striker Andy Cole, with Sheringham handed the task of partnering Yorke, while David May came in for Ronny Johnsen at the back.

Boro boss Bryan Robson fielded the side that started at Newcastle last week, with teenage defender Jason Gavin making his second senior appearance.


[ image: Yorke is engulfed by his team-mates after scoring the winner]
Yorke is engulfed by his team-mates after scoring the winner
But it was United who, unsurprisingly, made all the early running.

And they thought they had taken the lead in the 14th minute. Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer was unable to hold a stinging long-range shot from Roy Keane and Sheringham followed up to slip the ball into the net.

But for the second time in four days Ferguson's side fell foul of a dubious decision, as the effort was ruled out for offside - despite replays suggesting otherwise.

Dwight Yorke then headed over the bar from a trademark David Beckham cross and Jesper Blomqvist was denied by a last-gasp Gary Pallister tackle.

United captain Keane, who suffered an early knock to the ankle, was replaced by Nicky Butt as a precautionary measure with so many big league and cup games coming up.

Boro hit back

Boro had hardly troubled United in the opening 25 minutes - but they almost took an unlikely lead when Brian Deane headed a long-ball into the path of Mark Summerbell, who spun in the area and fired in a low shot that beat Peter Schmeichel but grazed the outside of the post.


Steve McLaren: "We must win every game we've got left"
And Deane's aerial threat carved out another opening three minutes later but after he flicked on a long throw Dean Gordon scooped his shot high and wide.

The proceedings had begun to take on a worrying air for United, with Boro looking increasingly dangerous - but Deane failed to find the target after Gordon's mistimed shot fell at his feet 12 yards out.

United pushed on as the first-half drew to a close, and another concerted period of pressure brought the goal that at last settled the nerves of players and fans alike.

United on top

Sheringham continued to be at the centre of United's best moments and early in the second half he came close from Blomqvist's left-wing cross, Schwarzer saving at the near post before the ball was hacked away.

Gary Neville then found himself in the opposition area - uncharted territory for the fullback - but his underhit shot posed no problem for Schwarzer.


[ image: Heads you lose: Gary Pallister beats Teddy Sheringham to the ball]
Heads you lose: Gary Pallister beats Teddy Sheringham to the ball
But Boro were not ready to accept that the day belonged to United and May did well to halt Hamilton Ricard's storming run into the box.

The game became even more disjointed, with United unable to find the fluency that has characterised so much of their play this season.

The introduction of Cole for Blomqvist saw Yorke switched to the left flank and he began to make in-roads, Schwarzer shovelling away his angled shot after he cut in from the wing.

With nine minutes to go Cole should have put the result out of sight but, with Schwarzer ahead of him, he sent his lob over the bar.

Their were flutters in the United area in the dying moments, as Summerbell blasted over and Sheringham had to clear from under his own bar.

Teams:

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Stockdale, Vickers, Gavin, Pallister, Gordon, Mustoe, Summerbell, Townsend, Ricard, Deane. Subs: Beresford, Maddison, Campbell, Armstrong, Baker.

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

Referee: G Barber (Pyrford)



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