Brian McClair.

Four festive goalfests for the Reds

Monday 20 December 2021 12:00

Manchester United have had some thumping wins over the festive period and there is a round anniversary of four of these that occurred in 1991, 2001 and 2011.

We will kick things off by reviewing the memorable 6-3 triumph at Oldham Athletic when Alex Ferguson's team were starting to gel.

A 6-1 hammering of Southampton in 2001 is also to be featured and two games deserve closer scrutiny from 2011, as both Fulham and Wigan Athletic were beaten heavily within the space of five days.

Festive goalfest: Oldham 3 Man Utd 6 Video

Festive goalfest: Oldham 3 Man Utd 6

Thirty years ago this week, Denis Irwin led a 6-3 rout against his former club Oldham...

Let's start with a Boxing Day extravaganza against Oldham, when nine goals warmed the travelling Reds in attendance at Boundary Park.

Denis Irwin took only a couple of minutes to open the scoring against his former club, from Neil Webb's astute pass, and the home side attempted to fight fire with fire by introducing winger Rick Holden for full-back Craig Fleming before the break.

It opened up the game with Andrei Kanchelskis adding a superb solo second in the 43rd minute.

The Latics looked potent going forward, though, and goals by Graeme Sharp and Mike Milligan hauled them back onto level terms.

Within a couple of minutes, Irwin swept in a free-kick for his second and Brian McClair quickly added two more as United seized control in impressive fashion. Nonetheless, Paul Bernard made it 5-3 with over 20 minutes still left to play, even if Peter Schmeichel protested about the validity of the effort, claiming the ball had been kicked out of his grasp.

Ryan Giggs, who had replaced Bryan Robson at half-time, rounded things off after an illustration of his pace and composure, rounding Jon Hallworth to score.

Andrei Kanchelskis.
Which of the six Boxing Day goals at Oldham was the best?poll

Which of the six Boxing Day goals at Oldham was the best?

Irwin picked up a hamstring injury, which was a worry ahead of three big games with Division One title rivals Leeds United inside the space of 10 days (we'd also drawn them in the FA Cup and League Cup), but Ferguson was understandably happy and confident, after a first six-goal league victory for 14 years for the club.

"I thought we were always in control," he said. "It's a blow to lose two players of the quality of Robson and Irwin but we have the back-up to take the fight to Leeds."