When Manchester United were comprehensively defeated 3-1 by Aston Villa on the opening day of the 1995-96 campaign, former Liverpool defender Alan Hansen was famously quoted as saying that "you'll never win anything with kids".
The Scot was reacting to the squad overhaul that had been made during that summer by Sir Alex Ferguson, who sold the experienced Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Andrei Kanchelskis, while promoting a number of youngsters that had helped the club to win the 1992 FA Youth Cup.
Yet, along with the return of Eric Cantona from a lengthy suspension, the 'Class of 92' mounted an assault on the title during the second half of the campaign, making up a 12-point deficit on Newcastle United to lead the race by three points by the time that Nottingham Forest visited Old Trafford 18 years ago today.
Some pundits had insisted that this would be a test of the youngsters' mental toughness, particularly because United had not defeated Frank Clark's Forest in their previous three attempts.
However, from the first whistle, the hosts set about their experienced opponents. First to find the back of the net in the 41st minute was Paul Scholes, who volleyed in from close range after he had been picked out by Ryan Giggs from the left flank.
The winger then claimed his second and United's third of the afternoon in the 54th minute. Denis Irwin's low pass was dummied by Scholes for Beckham, which freed up the England international to fire a shot underneath the body of a diving Crossley.
Another young team member, albeit a more experienced one, Giggs, added United's fourth goal of the match with 21 minutes remaining. The Welshman had been trying to pick out Scholes with his cross, but although the ball was too far in front of his teammate, it crept inside Crossley's far post.
Then, in the 89th minute, the player that was viewed as the father of the squad, Cantona, completed the scoring. Having missed a couple of chances earlier in the match, the mercurial Frenchman shrugged off the attention of Colin Cooper, before he lashed a half-volley straight down the middle, with Crossley committed to diving to his right.
It was a result that helped United to tighten their grip on the summit with just one match left to play, which in turn resulted in Hansen being frequently mocked for his viewpoint from earlier in the campaign.
MAN UNITED: Schmeichel; Irwin, May, Pallister, P Neville (G Neville); Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Sharpe, Giggs; Cantona
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Crossley; Pearce, Cooper, Chettle; Haaland, Woan, Bart-Williams, Stone, Gemmill; Lee, Roy