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Simon Brotherton reports
"Twice Wimbledon were pegged back by United"
 real 28k

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"We played well at times, but we were a bit careless at others"
 real 28k

Wimbledon manager Egil Olsen
"We didn't deserve to win, but a draw was fair"
 real 28k

Saturday, 26 February, 2000, 18:32 GMT
Man Utd salvage a point


Jordi Cruyff claimed United's first equaliser


Wimbledon 2-2 Man Utd

Premiership leaders Manchester United scrambled a late goal to snatch a point against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park.

The Dons twice took the lead through untidy, miscued goals, one in each half for Jason Euell and Carl Cort respectively.

Match facts
1 min: Euell scores Dons first
30 mins: Cruyff equalises
62 mins: Cort makes it two for Wimbledon
81 mins: Cole makes it 2-2
But a disjointed, defensively fragile Manchester managed to pull themselves back into it as Ryan Giggs orchestrated goals for both Jordi Cruyff and Andy Cole.

United remain six points clear at the top after Leeds drew 0-0 with Middlesbrough.

It was the third consecutive draw between United and Wimbledon, but it could have been a very different story but for the individual brilliance of Neil Sullivan who was nearly flawless in the home goal.

Wimbledon were always going to need a supreme effort plus a dose of luck to compete on level terms with the visitors, which is exactly what they produced in the opening minute.

Cort's goal put Wimbledon back in front
Kenny Cunningham sent a long ball into the Manchester United area, which Andreas Lund - outstanding on his home debut - nodded back to Euell.

The striker swung for the volley and mishit it, lofting the ball beyond the reach of Mark Bosnich and into the back of the net.

United responded with a period of sustained pressure, but on every occasion they threatened, Wimbledon broke out and caused difficulties at the other end.

Dons' keeper Sullivan did much to keep his side ahead, twice preventing Ryan Giggs from putting away an equaliser and pulling off a superb save to deny a low, powerful shot by Cruyff.

But the Dutchman was not to be denied and on the half-hour mark ran onto a perfectly judged Giggs pass and slammed the ball past Sullivan as he span from a defender's challenge.

Minute's silence: Beckham pays tribute to Sir Stanley Matthews
By contrast, the second half started quietly, with Lund twice causing problems for Bosnich.

The second occasion saw the Manchester keeper checking to make sure he had not stepped over his own line after an aerial clash with the Norwegian.

After quarter-of-an-hour, a superb combination between Teddy Sheringham, Giggs and Cole almost produced a second for the visitors, but Sullivan was again equal to the strike.

The keeper was called upon to pull off another brilliant save three minutes later as he deflected a scorching David Beckham free-kick.

Giggs makes it

Then just when the match appeared to have lulled into a stalemate, Wimbledon again rode their luck to snatch back the lead.

Alan Kimble put in a low cross that found Cort in the six-yard box, but the big striker failed to connect fully with the header, the ball instead glancing away to the right and nestling in the side netting on 62 minutes.

Sam Hammam: Still a presence at Selhurst
Cole came close to equalising after latching onto a Giggs' through-ball, but Sullivan mastered the one-on-one to safely gather.

The striker returned on 81 minutes to make it 2-2. Giggs made the goal by breaking from his own half following a Wimbledon corner and sprinting the length of the pitch.

The Welsh international drew the Dons defence right of the area and crossed for Cole, who was lurking on the right. The striker gathered and thumped in a sweet angled shot.

Wimbledon mentor Sam Hammam, who relinquished his financial interests in the club earlier this week, was nonetheless in the dug-out to see his team grind through a patchy match highlighted by four goals.

Teams:

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Hreidarsson, Andersen, Kimble, Ardley, Euell, Willmott, Lund, Cort, Gayle.
Subs: Blackwell, Earle, Badir, Andresen, Davis.

Man Utd: Bosnich, G. Neville, Stam, Silvestre, P. Neville, Cruyff, Beckham, Butt, Giggs, Cole, Sheringham.
Subs: Irwin, Van Der Gouw, Solskjaer, Berg, Fortune.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill)
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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.