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 Sunday, 22 December, 2002, 15:53 GMT
Blackburn stun Man Utd
Garry Flitcroft celebrates his goal for Blackburn with his team-mates
Flitcroft (centre) is congratulated after his goal

Blackburn 1-0 Man Utd


Blackburn midfielder Garry Flitcroft put the brakes on Manchester United's recent resurgence with the winner at Ewood Park.

The former Manchester City player struck in the first half and the goal proved enough to send United down to a first defeat in 11 games.

Fit-again Roy Keane and David Beckham both came off the bench in an attempt to pull back the deficit, but to no avail.

Key incidents
40 mins: Flitcroft scores for Blackburn
60: Keane comes on for Man Utd

Blackburn had taken time to settle at the start of the game and United almost took advantage by taking the lead after eight minutes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - picked ahead of substitute David Beckham for the right midfield berth - put in a low cross which fell nicely for Ryan Giggs.

The Welsh winger did not have a clear shot at goal and found striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, whose shot from close range was blocked by defender Martin Taylor.

Blackburn started to put up more of a fight but United were still on top and should have scored on the half hour mark.

Left-back John O'Shea skipped over a Lucas Neill challenge and pulled back a ball for Diego Forlan.

We worked very hard for the result and obviously I'm delighted - this is a big result for us

Blackburn boss Graemne Souness

The Uruguayan's mis-kicked effort inadvertently went to Van Nistelrooy but he also missed from 15 yards.

Blackburn defender Taylor was then in the right place to block another shot - this time from Solskjaer - and David Dunn had a shot saved at the other end.

But, the game lacked sparkle and needed a goal.

Flitcroft gratefully obliged as the Ewood Park outfit took the lead against the run of play after 40 minutes.

Damien Duff's inswinging free-kick to the far post was headed back into the United goalmouth by Taylor and, when Wes Brown's clearing header fell to Flitcroft, the midfielder produced a clinical finish.

Ruud van Nistelrooy is closely watched by Blackburn defender Craig Short
Van Nistelrooy tries to get away from Short

Blackburn emerged a more attack-minded force after the interval and they almost built on their one-goal lead five minutes into the half.

Duff fired in a dangerous ball into the United six-yard box but former Old Trafford strikers Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke failed to make contact.

Keane came on after an hour for United as the visitors pressed for an equaliser and they should have broken Blackburn's stubborn resistance through Van Nistelrooy.

The Dutch striker latched onto Paul Scholes' first time ball and was one-on-one with keeper Brad Friedel but put his shot wide.

If you miss chances like we did and conceded their only strike at goal you think it's not going to be your day

Man Utd manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Cole had an equally good chance for Blackburn minutes later after combining with Yorke only to shoot high.

Beckham was brought on for Giggs but home forward Yorke had the best chance in the remainder of the game.

He sliced an shot wide and Tugay was narrowly wide with a free-kick as Blackburn held on for a rare win against United.


Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Taylor, Short, Johansson, Dunn (Gillespie 55), Tugay, Flitcroft, Duff, Cole, Yorke.
Subs Not Used: Todd, Jansen, Ostenstad, Kelly.

Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Brown, Silvestre, O'Shea, Solskjaer, Phil Neville (Blanc 84), Scholes, Giggs (Beckham 70), Forlan (Keane 59), van Nistelrooy.
Subs Not Used: Richardson, Ricardo.

Booked: Gary Neville.

Att: 30,475

Ref: D Elleray (Middlesex).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"Flitcroft's goal was a bolt from the blue"
 Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"I'll have a nice Christmas now"
 Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel
"We created more chances"
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