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Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 21:55 GMT
Beckham denies bold Leicester
Manchester United youngster Kieran Richardson
Richardson makes his mark with United's second
Man Utd 2-0 Leicester

David Beckham shrugged off a week of off-field pressures to steer Manchester United into the fourth round of the Worthington Cup.

The England captain, whose wife and children were at the centre of an alleged kidnap plot, steered the Premiership side to victory with a late penalty.

And young substitute Kieran Richardson headed his first senior goal in the last minute to secure United's passage through to the next round.

But Leicester, whose flagging finances were boosted by an Old Trafford crowd of around 45,000, made the home side work hard for their win.

  Key incidents
15 secs: Solskjaer's penalty claims are waved away
80 mins: Beckham breaks deadlock from penalty spot
90 mins: Richardson seals win with first-ever senior goal

United always controlled the game, but struggled to find a way past goalkeeper Ian Walker.

Beckham was given the chance to shine in a central midfield role and was immediately in the thick of the action.

His superb defence-splitting pass set up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose penalty claims were waved away as he appeared to be chopped down by Frank Sinclair.

Diego Forlan went close with a firm header from a superb John O'Shea cross, goalkeeper Ian Walker saving well at the second attempt.


Beckham has to cope with pressure few others have to and it is a great tribute to him that he can perform the way he does
Leicester boss Micky Adams

Beckham, who is suspended for Saturday's Manchester derby, was booked for a late, sliding tackle on Stewart as he tried to make amends for losing possession in midfield.

And United came up against strong resistance from Leicester defender Matt Heath, who made impressive challenges inside his own area to deny first Daniel Nardiello and then Solskjaer.

Heath, though, was booked for a charge on David May on the edge of the area as United continued to dominate.

Walker again denied Solskjaer, blocking a shot after the Norwegian had weaved into the penalty area.

Manchester United's Ole Gunnar Solskjaer runs clear of Leciester's Matt Elliott
Solskjaer outsprints Elliott at Old Trafford

The closest the visitors came to a goal was when James Scowcroft reacted quickest to a lobbed the ball back into the box, hooking a shot just wide of Roy Carroll's right-hand post.

They did get the ball in the net on the hour, but Sinclair had already been pulled up for a foul on goalkeeper Carroll before Scowcroft poked home.

United responded to the continued stalemate by throwing on substitutes Juan Veron and Paul Scholes.

Leicester's resistance was finally broken by Beckham's late spot-kick after Solskjaer tumbled under a challenge from Andy Impey.


You don't always get those - it was a bit soft
Sir Alex Ferguson on Man Utd's penalty
The Leicester player protested furiously to referee Chris Foy, but Beckham kept his cool to fire home.

And Richardson, who only made his United debut a week earlier, capped the win when he met Forlan's cross with a flying header.


Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, May, O'Shea, Forlan, Beckham, Phil Neville, Fortune, Solskjaer, Nardiello. Subs: Barthez, Veron, Scholes, Pugh, Richardson.

Leicester: Walker, Sinclair, Heath, Elliott, Rogers, Impey, Izzet, Davidson, Stewart, Dickov, Scowcroft. Subs: Summerbee, Stevenson, Reeves, Oakes, Benjamin.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"United were below par"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"We fielded a strong side"

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