United away is one of those games that when you look at the fixture list at the beginning of the season, you say "I don’t expect anything from that one." As Matilda said in her match preview, our recent history against Manchester United has been poor to say the least. This season looked the time to change that though. A 2-2 draw at the Reebok earlier in the season, United’s second string back line, and a streaking Bolton all looked like factors that would earn us a point or three. Hit the jump for a match report and highlights.
This game was ours to take but beyond poor finishing ensured that we would not end up with the three points. Jussi Jaaskelainen saved us on a number of occasions but it would ultimately be the big Finn that would be our downfall.
Daniel Sturridge’s impact wasn’t felt like it had been in the early part of this second half of the season, Elmander on the wing was almost completely useless, and even though things picked up when Chungy was introduced, he wasn’t the game changer that he has been the last few weeks.
United left it late to beat the Wanderers this time around. In the 88th minute, Nani carried the ball into the center of the pitch, right outside the 18 yard box, as he often does and let rip. The shot was blocked by Jussi but he could not keep hold of it as the ball rolled up his arms, off his chest, and to the feet of Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian put a weak effort past the keeper and it rolled into the back of the net. 1-0.
Never mind the loss, the big story of this match for us Wanderers is the loss of our American. A rash tackle by Jonny Evans in the 76th minute was enough to have Stuart Holden stretchered off the field. Evans went in studs up and left a gash on Holden’s left knee. Evans was given a straight red for his troubles. Rio Ferdinand decided to add insult to injury on Twitter after the match with this piece of garbage:
“I hope Holden is ok, a honest solid tackle between him and Evans and Evans gets a red card....I don't agree at all.”
Right. After the match, Coyle said: "without pre-empting anything, I have spoken to our doctor and physio, and they are hoping it is only a cut. His knee is [cut] open." Here's hoping that the American comes back strong and comes back soon.
Full highlights available over at our good friend, The Original Winger