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BBC Sport's Ron Jones
"Entertaining certainly, significant, probably not"
 real 14k

Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Saints sweep aside Man Utd
James Beattie is dumped on the floor by Wes Brown
Saints inflicted a fifth Premiership defeat on United
Southampton 2-1 Manchester United

Marian Pahars scored one and supplied the cross for Wes Brown to head spectacularly into his own net as Southampton beat Manchester United.

In the penultimate match of the season at the Dell, the Saints finally ended their goal drought at home.

But it took an opposing player to hit their first goal at the Dell under caretaker boss Stuart Gray.

Referee Jeff Winter was the official in charge when Southampton famously beat a grey-shirted United side 3-1.

And with so many first-team players, including David Beckham, rested by Alex Ferguson, one wondered if they could record a similar result.

  Key incidents
11 mins: Wes Brown scores a spectacular own-goal to put Southampton in front
16 mins: Marian Pahars doubles the Saints' lead with a composed finish
13 mins: Andy Goram is at full stretch to deny Kevin Davies
71 mins: Giggs pulls one back for United

The United line-up was unfamiliar and inexperienced, and they started the match in a laxadaisaical manner not usually associated with the Premiership champions.

From the kick off Dwight Yorke played a lazy backheel which gave possession to Southampton and set the pattern for the match.

And Saints were quick to take advantage, with a little help from their opponents.

Brown met Pahars' cross with a full-length diving header to power the ball past Andy Goram, increasing his growing collection of own-goals.

Pahars doubled the lead five minutes later when he latched on to Hasan Kachloul's ball lofted over the top of the defence.

The Latvian brought the ball down superbly in acres of space as United appealed for offside.

And he kept his composure to cooly slot past Goram.

On the back foot

Kevin Davies struck a sweet drive moments later that forced an excellent save from Goram as the home side looked to capitalise on their dominance.

The visitors were pinned in their own half for long spells but Saints could not add to their goal tally.

Their best chance came when they were awarded a free-kick after Michael Stewart, a 20-year-old midfielder, handled outside the box.

The referee moved the ball 10 yards forward into the box as Ronnie Johnsen argued, but Wayne Bridge's drive hit the wall.

United fought back after the interval with an inspired Ryan Giggs trying to instill some pride into his side's performance.

His hard work was rewarded hen he scored a well-worked goal following a precise one-two played with Yorke.

Giggs supplied Quinton Fortune with a great opportunity to complete United's comeback when he picked out the South African in the penalty area.

But Fortune could not convert the chance, hitting straight at the Saints defence.

Giggs continued to create chances as United looked for an equaliser, while Pahars headed over at the other end.

Luke Chadwick came close to levelling the score with a low drive that was inches wide.

And Pahars was denied by a good stop from substitute goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw as the game flowed from end to end.

But Saints clung on for a deserved victory, while United having already been crowned Champions did not look too despondent at the result.

Southampton: Jones, Monk, Lundekvam, Richards, Bridge, Davies, Oakley, Kachloul, Marsden, Beattie, Pahars. Subs: Moss, Le Tissier, Rosler, Benali, Tessem.

Man Utd: Goram, Irwin, Phil Neville, Brown, Johnsen, Chadwick, Stewart, Wallwork, Fortune, Yorke, Giggs. Subs: Van Der Gouw, May, Clegg, Wilson, Djordjc.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)

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