United roar out message of defiance


SIX SHOOTING Manchester United roared out an ominous message of defiance to long time Premiership leaders Newcastle - the title race is only just starting! United's emphatic victory at Bolton last evening moves them to within four points of Newcastle to set up a titanic tussle between the giants at St James's Park next Monday night.

United brushed aside a poor challenge from Bolton to leave the Wanderers facing almost certain relegation after just one season back in the top flight.

The contest was basically settled in a pulsating first quarter of an hour with United surging into a decisive two goal lead, courtesy of headers from David Beckham and Steve Bruce - the skipper's first goal of the season.

An Andy Cole strike, a brace from substitute Paul Scholes and a last minute effort from Nicky Butt left United celebrating a resounding success.

Ironically, Bolton could have been ahead within the opening two minutes, Serb midfielder Sasa Curcic brought a magnificent save from Peter Schmeichel with a ferocious shot from 20 yards. But United swayed into confident and assured stride when a magical moment from Ryan Giggs carved up the Wanderers defence on five minutes.

Giggs juggled the ball over Jimmy Phillips and his volley beat Keith Branagan to leave Beckham to follow up when the ball rebounded from the bar.

United went two up when Bruce got in behind Bolton's static defence to head home a Beckham corner.

Bolton tried gallantly to make a match of it early in the second half, Scott Sellars tested Schmeichel and then Nathan Blake shot over. Bolt on also may have had a penalty when Curcic appeared to be up ended but Cole settled United's nerves to make the game safe 20 minutes from time, side stepping Simon Coleman to net off the bar.

Scholes made a sensational entry scoring twice within six minutes of coming on as a replacement for Eric Cantona.

Butt, inspirational in midfield throughout, put the sixth nail in the Bolton coffin right on time after a good link up with Cole.