Sheffield United made light work in reaching in next round of the FA cup after beating Hartlepool United by a single goal, but despite veteran Alan Cork (who had already a cup-winners medal to his name) on the score sheet it was fellow striker Brian Deane who was taking all the applause.The England manager Graham Taylor was scouting the land for a striker who was prepared to face San Marino in a months time. Deane was the sort of striker which Mr Taylor could only dream about; he was lean, hungry and in form and only the raff of Hartlepool stood between him and a place in the three lions camp.
However the tall forward knew his fate after 90 minutes of play had ended, he unwillingingly dragged himself off the field of play and knew that his chance had gone and despite defeat the travelling Pool support taunted him; "You'll never play for England," however he had already caps to his name but on this performance would struggle to be re-called again.
With Alan Shearer, David Hirst, and Les Ferdinand all out injured Deane should have taken his chance, but this game wasn't all about the former Doncaster trainee, though he had hit media hype having scored hat-tricks against Burnley and Ipswich Town - but there was a game of FA Cup football to be played.
He looked the part at 6'3" and an hat-trick would have made him the first player in 50 years to score three on the bounce. He was menacing and his first proper touch of the ball was awesome - Glynn Hodges prodded a difficult ball forward and Deane controlled before his drive dipped just over the bar.
In his next move he headed across goal to create a chance for partner Cork but somehow defender Gilchrist scrabbled away from danger. He also played a part in the goal that was to follow, on 47 minutes as Franz Carr hurrahed a ball forward and in a comical moment was missed by Deane and then by three Hartlepool defenders before the experienced Cork shot at an angle which deflected off Jones and ballooned over the line; 1-0.
Deane had further opportunities to show his worth to the England Manager, in injury time Gilchrist slipped but Deane hesitated and allowed the defender to get back to his feet and prevent further embarrassment.
The game itself was won by United as they made a safe passage into the next round but perhaps this meeting was indeed over shadowed by the presence of Taylor and Deane. Maybe if he'd have chosen the Sheffield United striker he wouldn't have been named a 'Turnip?'
SHEFFIELD UNITED: A Kelly; K Gage, D Barnes, J Hoyland, B Gayle, P Beesley, F Carr (sub: M Ward), P Rogers, A Cork, B Deane, G Hodges (sub: I Bryson).
HARTLEPOOL UNITED: S Jones; R Cross, P Cross, P Gilchrist, J MacPhail, M Tait, L Johnrose, N Southall, A Saville, B Honour, J Gallacher (sub: N Peverall).