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Saturday, 28 April, 2001, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Man Utd add to Boro woe
Middlesbrough 0-2 Man Utd
Manchester United heaped more misery onto former Old Trafford hero Bryan Robson with a comfortable win at the Riverside Stadium.
A stunning long-range effort from Phil Neville and a David Beckham goal secured all three points for the Premiership champions and plunged Middlesbrough deeper into the relegation battle.
While Boro huffed and puffed, Sir Alex Ferguson could afford to give a Premiership debut to young midfielder Michael Stewart.
And the 20-year-old Scotsman put in an impressive display alongside Beckham, Nicky Butt and Quinton Fortune.
United started brightly and were rewarded after only four minutes.
Beckham passed the ball to Neville and the England defender set off down the left.
Neville steadied himself outside the Boro area and unleashed a 25-yard shot which beat the outstretched Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer.
United's midfield - missing the likes of Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes - were intent on orchestrating proceedings.
But Boro did not let the early goal dampen their spirits and they came close to an equaliser on several occasions.
Dean Windass saw his shot go just wide of the United goal on 25 minutes.
And the former Bradford striker forced Raimond Van der Gouw to make an excellent save, tipping over his fiercely-struck shot from 20 yards out.
At the other end, Schwarzer pushed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's effort around the post.
United launched a lightning fast counter-attack just before half-time and new boy Stewart had his shot blocked by the Boro defence.
Boro started the second half with far more purpose, challenging for every loose ball.
Alen Boksic - usually so accurate with his free-kicks - blazed one over the United goal much to the disappointment of the home fans.
Debutant Stewart went into referee Steve Lodge's book for a clumsy challenge on Windass.
The Teesiders' new-found sense of urgency was rewarded with yet another free-kick, which was moved forward into the United penalty area after the visitors failed to stand 10 yards away.
But Van der Gouw managed to close down the shot and clear it from the danger area.
Boro thought they were back on level terms in the 69th minute.
Jason Gavin crashed a long-range shot against the upright and Ugo Ehiogu slotted home the rebound.
But an offside flag ruined their celebrations.
Terry Venables' men continued to press for an equaliser, and Hamilton Ricard was unlucky not to make more of some sloppy United defending.
Ferguson introduced Giggs and Andy Cole to give his side more of an attacking edge.
But it was Beckham who got United's second to kill off any Boro hopes of salvaging a point.
Giggs laid on a pass for the England captain who cooly slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner on 84 minutes.
Boro are now only four points ahead of Manchester City and must take something from their last two games to make sure of their Premiership status next season.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Gavin, Cooper, Ehiogu, Vickers, Okon, Stamp, Ince, Windass, Boksic, Ricard. Subs: Crossley, Mustoe, Deane, Gordon, Marinelli.
Man Utd: Van Der Gouw, Phil Neville, Stam, Johnsen, Brown, Beckham, Butt, Stewart, Fortune, Sheringham, Solskjaer. Subs: Rachubka, Giggs, Cole, Yorke, Chadwick.
Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley)