FIVE OF THE BEST: Memorable Man Utd home games

By SFC Media time Sat 06 Dec Club

Ahead of Monday’s game, saintsfc.co.uk takes a look back at five memorable post-war matches against the Red Devils in Southampton.

Two famous games from the mid-1990s stick out when recalling fixtures at The Dell against United, including the infamous ‘grey shirts’ contest in April 1996.

And that classic game against Manchester United features in our pick of five matches below: 

21st December 1968 – Division 1 – Southampton 2-0 Manchester United (Davies, Channon)


The 1968/69 Southampton FC squad

This game was settled inside the opening seven minutes at The Dell, as quickfire Saints sank their opponents for the second time that season.

Ron Davies got the ball rolling on five minutes by following up after Alex Stepney had only partially saved Jimmy Gabriel’s shot.

Two minutes later Mick Channon hooked in Davies’s header to settle the contest, though Saints defended courageously to ensure they kept out the European champions who suffered their first double defeat since 1964.

Southampton team: Gerry Gurr, Joe Kirkup, Ken Jones (Fred Kemp), John McGrath, Jimmy Gabriel, Tony Burne, Terry Paine, Dave Walker, Frank Saul, Mick Channon, Ron Davies

5th December 1981 – Division 1 – Southampton 3-2 Manchester United (Moran, Keegan, Armstrong)


Kevin Keegan puts Saints into a 2-1 lead

Saints won a rollercoaster of a game with United with a last minute strike from David Armstrong settling an enthralling encounter.

Frank Stapleton had put the visitors in front on 25 minutes, but Saints levelled up through Steve Moran just past the half hour when he wrong-footed two defenders to sweep home a decisive shot into the United net.

Moran turned provider for Kevin Keegan to find the roof of the net with a firm strike to give the hosts a lead heading into the break.

Bryan Robson equalised on 52 minutes, and Saints were denied a 74th minute third strike by the linesman for offside, before Armstrong, who had seen his previous effort chalked off, struck in the final minute of the contest.

Southampton team: Ivan Katalinic, Ivan Golac, Nick Holmes, Steve Williams, Chris Nicholl, Malcolm Waldron, Kevin Keegan, Alan Ball, Mick Channon, Steve Moran, David Armstrong

4th November 1986 – League Cup – Southampton 4-1 Manchester United (Lawrence, Wallace, Le Tissier 2)


Matt Le Tissier heads home a hammer blow for United boss Ron Atkinson

Forever remembered as Ron Atkinson’s final game in charge of the visitors, United parted company with their boss following this second leg defeat where Saints advanced into the fourth round of the League Cup at their expense.

George Lawrence opened the scoring just before half-time with a glorious 25 yard strike, but the rest of the goals came in the final 20 minutes of the game. Danny Wallace struck prior to a brace of efforts from Matt Le Tissier sealed United’s fate, long before Peter Davenport grabbed an 88th-minute reply.

Saints would go on to reach the semi-finals of the tournament where they were defeated 3-0 by Liverpool at Anfield.

Southampton team: Peter Shilton, Gerry Forrest, Mark Dennis, Jimmy Case, Mark Wright, Jon Gittens, George Lawrence, Glenn Cockerill, Colin Clarke, Steve Baker, Danny Wallace (Matt Le Tissier)

13th April 1996 – Premier League – Southampton 3-1 Manchester United (Monkou, Shipperley, Le Tissier)


Can you spot the grey shirts?

One of the most famous excuses of his time was offered up by Sir Alex Ferguson after this defeat on the south coast, where his side’s ‘grey shirts were to blame’ in a game they were 3-0 down in at half-time.

At the interval, Ferguson ordered his team to change into a blue and white strip so that they could ‘see each other more clearly’. They won the second-half 1-0, but goals from Ken Monkou, Neil Shipperley and Matt Le Tissier and had already done the damage for Dave Merrington’s men.

Just three games later the season would finish, with Saints staying up on goal difference.

Southampton team: Dave Beasant, Jason Dodd, Francis Benali, Alan Neilson, Ken Monkou, Simon Charlton, Jim Magilton, Barry Venison, Matt Le Tissier, Neil Heaney, Neil Shipperley

26th October 1996 – Premier League – Southampton 6-3 Manchester United (Berkovic 2, Le Tissier, Ostenstad 3)


Egil Ostenstad with one of his two or three from this game

After the previous season’s debacle over kit, Alex Ferguson’s United brought out their readily identifiable blue and white strip again, but it made no difference to the result in this meeting either.

Down 3-1 at half-time to goals from Eyal Berkovic, Matt Le Tissier and Egil Ostenstad, minus David Beckham’s reply, Saints had upset the men from Manchester once again.

David May reduced the deficit further on 56 minutes, but Berkovic and Ostenstad would each score again before Paul Scholes pulled another back. Conflicting reports suggest either Ostenstad or United’s Gary Neville contributed Saints’ sixth goal of the game in stoppage time, but Saints worried not, going one better that season – staying up by a point!

Southampton team: Dave Beasant, Alan Neilson (Jim Magilton), Claus Lundekvam, Richard Dryden, Jason Dodd, Simon Charlton (Graham Potter), Ulrich Van Gobbel, Matt Oakley, Eyal Berkovic, Matt Le Tissier (Gordon Watson), Egil Ostenstad


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