Saturday, October 30, 1999 Published at 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK
Beckham inspires Man Utd romp
Dion Dublin tries to sweep the ball away from United maestro David Backham
Man Utd 3-0 Aston Villa
Manchester United moved back into second place in the Premiership, as David Beckham's right-boot brought about Aston Villa's downfall.
Well-worked goals from Paul Scholes, Andy Cole and Roy Keane secured a resounding victory for Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
But it was Beckham's day, with all three goals created by the England midfielder.
He confirmed his reputation as the best crosser of a ball in the country to put some gloss on a scoreline in a match in which Villa played a full part.
The visitors - inspired by their livewire new-boy Benito Carbone - had their share of possession, particularly in the second half, but they were unable to breach the home side's defences.
Where United's finishing was clinical, Villa's was profligate, and they failed to make the most of the chances that came their way.
United ride their luck
United started brightly up front, but it is at that back where the home team have struggled all season - and Carbone came close to exploiting yet another United defensive mix-up.
When Mickael Silvestre dallied on the ball, the Italian pounced, but his flashing first-time shot clipped the outside of the post.
Carbone's piece of opportunism gave Villa renewed heart and George Boateng and Dion Dublin both came close with sharp efforts.
It was United though who took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, with a stunning 30th minute move.
David Beckham sent over a trademark cross from the far right and Scholes nipped in front of his marker to flick the ball past David James.
And Beckham was at the heart of the next crucial moment, as United gave themselves a two-goal cushion in first-half injury time, courtesy of another sparkling piece of interplay.
Ryan Giggs switched the play to the right with a searching pass and Beckham provided a low cross for Cole to smack the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of James' goal.
Beni's one-man show
Villa's attempts to force their way back into the contest after the break were led by Carbone's superb individual display.
The former Sheffield Wednesday striker has provided his team with an extra dimension and he first tried his luck with an impudent overhead strike, before forcing Bosnich into a save with a low drive.
And only a brilliant back-tracking challenge from Jaap Stam prevented Carbone from scoring after he had raced clear of the United defence.
But perhaps the best chance of all for Carbone came when his shot rebounded over Bosnich, only for Silvestre to hack his goalbound effort off the line.
For all Villa's dominance they just could not find the breakthrough - and United made them pay with a glorious third goal after 65 minutes.
Again the move was begun by a Beckham cross, as this time Scholes clipped the ball back into the path of Keane, who beat James with a stunning first-time shot from 30 yards out.
Demoralised they may have been, but Villa pushed on.
There was no through, though, as with time ticking away, Gareth Barry and Paul Merson both failed to convert half-chances and Ian Taylor headed wide.
Man Utd: Bosnich, Irwin, Stam, Silvestre, Neville, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Cole, Yorke. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Solskjaer, Berg, Wilson, Cruyff.
Aston Villa: James, Delaney, Calderwood, Southgate, Barry, Boateng, Hendrie, Taylor, Thompson, Dublin, Carbone. Subs: Watson, Wright, Merson, Stone, Enckelman.
Referee: A Wilkie (Chester Le Street)