Monday 19 May 2014
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Sir Alex Ferguson's managerial career ended in an extraordinary feast of goals at The Hawthorns.
Ferguson, managing Barclays Premier League champions Manchester United for the 1,500th and final time after 27 hugely successful years in charge, saw his side squander leads of 3-0 and 5-2 to draw their last match of the season in thrilling style.
The result meant little for the League table - although result cut United's lead at the top over rivals Manchester City from 13 to 11 points while West Bromwich Albion stayed in eighth place.
It was the highest winning margin since Chelsea finished 12 points clear of Arsenal in the 2004/05 season.
Ferguson was given a guard of honour on to the pitch by both sets of players before kick-off.
"I think he (Sir Alex Ferguson) will enjoy his retirement. People will remember this match for years and it’s a great tribute to him"
Shinji Kagawa opened the scoring in only the sixth minute when he headed in a cross from Javier Hernandez and three minutes later it was 2-0 when Jonas Olsson inadvertently turned Antonio Valencia's low cross into his own net.
Full-back Alexander Buttner hit the third on the half hour mark from a tight angle after good work by Hernandez and Tom Cleverley. It was Buttner's second goal in his debut campaign with the Red Devils.
James Morrison gave West Brom hope before the break when he finished off a right-wing cross.
The hosts introduced Romelu Lukaku as a half-time substitute and the Belgium international transformed the contest. He reduced the deficit even further five minutes into the second half when he fired home from 20 yards.
But three minutes later, Robin van Persie converted another Valencia centre for his 26th Barclays Premier League goal of the season and then Hernandez turned in a Ryan Giggs cross to make it 5-2 in the 63rd minute.
With nine minutes left, Lukaku struck again and almost immediately Youssouf Mulumbu set the visitors’ nerves jangling by cutting the deficit to 5-4.
Lukaku completed an extraordinary comeback in the 86th minute when he scored at the second attempt, after United’s defence failed to clear their lines, for his 17th league goal of the campaign. It made him the fifth player to score a Premier League hat-trick as a substitute.
"Sir Alex told me it's the first time one of his teams has surrendered a three-goal lead so credit has to go to my players for that," said West Brom manager Steve Clarke. "I think he will enjoy his retirement. People will remember this match for years and it’s a great tribute to him."
Ferguson was not the only person retiring as Paul Scholes made his final appearance after coming on as a 69th minute substitute. The former England midfielder amassed 499 appearances in the Barclays Premier League, scoring 107 goals, and he won 11 League titles during his Manchester United career.