Last season at Anfield, our season looked to be taking a turn for the worst. Liverpool arguably played the better game and with twenty minutes to go, Rooney left the field with an injury. John O’Shea was his replacement, to the disappointment of most United fans. “What is bloody O’Shea going to be able to do??” were the shouts from the pub. With Saha and Silvestre already being subbed on, our only other option from the bench was Wes Brown. Fair play, O’Shea will have to do then.
As the clock ticked down, Scholes let the heat of this big game get the better of him, and swung out at Alonso who had been fouling him. The ref sent Scholes off and we had four minutes plus injury time to get through before we could claim the one point, which we’d be well happy with.
Ronaldo stepped up to take a free kick from the left side of the box as we crept in to injury time. He riffled the ball in the box, hitting it with such power than Reina could only pat it away. Saha came in, distracting the keeper, trying to get something on the ball, opening up the net perfectly for John O’Shea to put away the rebound. It was magical. Injury time winners against your rivals should only come once every few years, if you’re lucky, but to get two in two seasons was fantastic.
The players celebrating like we’d won the league that day with the fans, and to a certain extent, it really felt as though we had. Scoring injury time winners in games we didn’t deserve to win had been a long lost memory, back from the days when we were winning the league year after year. That day at Anfield, we were back in business, just a couple of months away from the end of the season, and ready to reclaim our title.
“The 90th minute at Anfield, in front of the Kop . . . Gary Neville’s just told me that is his dream and I’ve just gone and done it!” O’Shea said, beaming, after the match. Neville, who had been fined £5k for celebrating our last injury time winner against the dippers stuck to celebrating with our fans alongside Van der Sar this time. It was a great day, knowing the dippers felt as sick as we did happy.
On Sunday, we travel to Anfield again for the first time since O’Shea’s winner. Sunday’s results, if they go our way, could see us climb to top of the league for the first time this season. O’Shea has today spoken out about his feelings on the game. “What happened at Anfield last season is definitely up there as one of the best moments of my career,” he said. “I am sure it will be on my mind on Sunday, especially if I come on in the last few minutes and the scoreline is level.”
Can John O’Shea do it again?