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John Murray reports for the BBC
"Dwight Yorke had a smile back on his face"
 real 28k

Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich
"He's scored 16 goals this season and some people say he hasn't been scoring"
 real 28k

Saturday, 11 March, 2000, 17:35 GMT
Yorke treble tethers Rams

Yorke celebrates his first goal for two months
Man Utd 3-1 Derby

Dwight Yorke ended his two-month goal drought with a hat-trick against Derby to keep Manchester United firmly at the top of the table.

But it was by no means one of the reigning champions' most electrifying performances.

It took a brilliant second-half equaliser from Belgian Branko Strupar to spur United into life, although when Yorke's second and third strikes found the back of the net they had a certain inevitability about them.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Solskjaer: Created all sorts of problems
The Rams can consider themselves unlucky not to have been in closer contention after the interval as good chances for Strupar, Horacio Carbonari and Malcolm Christie were kept out.

In fact, Christie let a goal go begging in the opening minute, when he snared Rory Delap's cross eight yards out and somehow found Mark Bosnich in the United goal.

Quinton Fortune created flutters at the other end almost immediately, with an angled shot that beat the keeper, but went beyond the far post.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appealed for a free-kick five minutes later after a collision with Mart Poom just outside his area, but referee Jeff Winter waved play on.

The first goal on 12 minutes came courtesy of a howler by Poom, who took too much time with a clearance kick and was charged down by Yorke.

Match facts
1 min: Christie denied by Bosnich
12 mins: Yorke nets his first
66 mins: Strupar equalises
70 mins: Yorke retakes the lead
72 mins: Yorke completes his hat-trick
The Trinidad striker simply followed the ball as it rebounded and tapped it into the back of an empty Derby net.

Christie and Gary Neville's niggling battle eventually drew a warning from the referee and it came as little surprise when he awarded a penalty against Derby for a barge by Christie on 27 minutes.

Scholes stepped up to take the spot kick, only for Poom to redeem himself with a brilliant diving save to the right.

Tempers - frayed throughout - finally flared, earning the Rams two yellow cards in quick succession.

Manchester had another good chance just before the interval when Scholes latched onto a nicely timed through-ball from Gary Neville.

But Poom was alive to the danger and smothered the midfielder's powerful shot, gathering at the second attempt.

The second half opened with a good period of pressure for Derby and they were perhaps unlucky not to be awarded a penalty for handball against Roy Keane. The referee said the ball came off the Irishman's chest.

Two in two minutes

Manchester responded with two sharp chances for Yorke and Scholes, the first saved by Poom and the second going inches wide.

But it was a serious defensive lapse that nearly let the Rams in as a sloppy back pass from Keane was intercepted and fed into Christie, only for the striker to hit the keeper with the goal at his mercy.

A goalmouth scramble just minutes later deposited the ball at the feet of Horacio Carbonari, who was unlucky to catch a deflection that spared the blushes of the stranded Bosnich.

Derby's perseverance finally paid off as Strupar latched onto the end of Giorgi Kinkladze's lofted pass to stroke in an angled shot from the right on 66 minutes.

Manchester United responded in typical fashion as Yorke claimed his second just four minutes later.

Completely unmarked in the Derby box, the Trinidad star rose to meet Fortune's cross and nodded it home.

He completed the hat-trick two minutes after that as he cut a swathe through the white defence and laced the ball past the wrong-footed Poom.

Teams:

Man Utd: Bosnich, G. Neville, Berg, Silvestre, P. Neville, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Fortune, Yorke, Solskjaer.
Subs: Van Der Gouw, Sheringham, Butt, Wallwork, Giggs.

Derby: Poom, Laursen, Carbonari, Elliott, Dorigo, Delap, Eranio, Johnson, Schnoor, Christie, Kinkladze.
Subs: Oakes, Sturridge, Prior, Jackson, Strupar.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)
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