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The BBC's Ian Brown
"West Ham were disrespectful enough to take the lead"
 real 28k

Saturday, 1 April, 2000, 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK
Scholes inspires rout of Hammers

Andy Cole (right) scored the third goal of the seven
Man Utd 7-1 West Ham

Paul Scholes scored a hat trick as rampant United destroyed the Hammers to take a 10-point lead in the title race.

With Leeds losing 1-0 at home to Chelsea, this win leaves United with plenty of room for error in the defence of their championship trophy.

West Ham actually took the lead through Paulo Wanchope after 11 minutes.


Key moments
11 mins: Wanchope stuns Old Trafford
24: Scholes' first deflected past Forrest
26: Irwin nets rebound after penalty saved
45: Cole rises to connect with Beckham's cross
51: Scholes flicks his second
62: Hat trick from the spot
66: Beckham's free kick
73: Solksjaer does his super-sub routine
But Scholes and then Denis Irwin's second attempt at a penalty turned the game around in two minutes.

Andy Cole added a third before half-time, while Scholes backheeled a fourth and then smashed home a penalty.

David Beckham made it half a dozen with a beautiful free kick and substitute Ole Gunnar Solksjaer completed the scoring.

United rested Ryan Giggs and brought in Quinton Fortune while West Ham lost Paolo di Canio with a hip injury.

The visitors weathered an early spell of pressure and then shocked Old Trafford by opening the scoring.

Frederic Kanoute played Wanchope through on the left and he held off Mickael Silvestre to run at Mark Bosnich.



Wanchope celebrates - prematurely
The keeper got a hand to the West Ham striker's left-foot shot but it trickled in at the far post.

Irwin then denied Kanoute but West Ham skipper Steve Lomas had to make a vital defensive header to stop Dwight Yorke at the back post.

Scholes eventually got United level on 24 minutes, with a 20-yard drive deflected past Hammers keeper Craig Forrest after the England midfielder smartly latched onto a defensive header.

Two minutes later the home side were 2-1 in front after Potts was judged to have brought down Keane just inside the area.

Irwin's penalty was saved but he tapped the rebound into the opposite corner of the goal.



That was a performance that you can't help but be delighted with. Our work rate first of all was magnificent and that gave us the foundation to show the ability they have

Sir Alex Ferguson
Forrest also produced a flying save to stop Scholes immediately extending the lead.

Bosnich was grateful when he flapped at a cross and Kanoute's header sailed just wide.

United also survived a penalty appeal when Minto appeared to be bundled over by Keane.

But there was no stopping United as Beckham sent over a terrific cross from the right on the stroke of half-time.

Cole's third

The ball was high and just six yards out as Cole rose to head home his 21st goal of the season.

After the break United remained in top gear and Scholes cheekily put them 4-1 ahead.



Irwin's rebound went in after the first penalty
Rio Ferdinand was guilty of a defensive error which allowed Beckham another crossing chance.

This time the ball in was low and Scholes delightlfully backheeled the ball past Forrest.

His hat-trick came from the penalty spot after Nicky Butt had been played clear and referee Mike Riley decided John Moncur had clipped the midfielder's legs.

Scholes smashed the ball straight down the middle and over Forrest, who looked shell-shocked by the sheer power.

Beckham's best free kick?

But that was nothing to what he must have thought as goal number six went in.

A free kick was given 25 yards from goal in a position slightly to the left of central.



I had to play with a flat back four and one of those centre-halves, Stevie Potts, had not played for 10 weeks. But, having said all that, they would have beaten us on any day.

Harry Redknapp
Beckham's trademark effort was surely as powerful and accurate as anything even he has produced in the past.

It struck the underside of the crossbar before going in and West Ham still had 24 minutes to survive.

There seemed unlikely to manage it, particularly when three pairs of fresh legs were introduced by Sir Alex Ferguson.

And one of the trio of new faces, Solksjaer netted the seventh just seven minutes after the sixth.

This time the Hammers did survive the 17 minutes still remaining as United sat back on their commanding lead.

Teams:

Man Utd: Bosnich, G. Neville, Stam, Silvestre, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Fortune, Cole, Yorke. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Butt, Sheringham, P. Neville, Solskjaer.

West Ham: Forrest, Lomas, Ferdinand, Potts, Minto, Sinclair, Foe, Lampard, Moncur, Wanchope, Kanoute. Subs: Feuer, Cole, Keller, Charles, McCann.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds)

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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.