Few Old Trafford goals have proven as important, or arrived as late, as Steve Bruce's double against Sheffield Wednesday on 10 April 1993...
The Background: The gut-wrenching tragedy of 1992’s late-season collapse was still an unhealed scar, and one win from five previous games had cranked the jitters up when Trevor Francis’ Owls came to M16. The Reds trailed Aston Villa by two points ahead of kick-off, with the Villans in action at Coventry City.
The Occasion: From the first whistle, United frittered away chances with abandon. Hence, when John Sheridan put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot after 65 minutes, pin-drop dread gripped Old Trafford. The kick had been awarded by replacement official John Hilditch, who took over from injured referee Michael Peck, tacking a lengthy stoppage onto the end of the game. United drew level when Bruce headed home Denis Irwin's corner on 86 minutes and, over 10 minutes later, the skipper rampaged through a crowded penalty area to bullet home Gary Pallister's deflected cross and spark bedlam in the stands and pitch-side. “I went berserk, the boss went semi-berserk,” recalls then-assistant manager Brian Kidd, now forever famed for his skywards leap and fist-clenching salute to the heavens on the OT turf.
The Aftermath: Coming on the same day as Villa's draw at Highfield Road, Bruce's double proved the tipping point of the Reds’ first Premier League title. The neurosis of 26 years without a domestic crown had been numbed. Bruce admits: “Every United fan I speak to shakes my hand and says ‘Sheffield Wednesday, 10 April 1993 at 10 to five, thank you for those two goals.’"