Date: 22nd April 2012 at 3:11pm
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Did we throw away more than just two points in this eight goal thriller?

Did we just hand the title initiative to Manchester City?

Team News – Sir Alex Ferguson stuck with the majority of the starting eleven who have served him well as the title race approaches a conclusion with only one major change in his side with Ashley Young dropping to the bench and Nani taking his place.

United – De Gea, Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Rafael, Carrick, Scholes, Nani, Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck

Subs – Amos, Jones, Smalling, Giggs, Park, Young, Hernandez

First Half – United got the action underway knowing they were two win away from being crowned Champions, a win against Everton, followed by a win against City, next Monday, would see a 20th title win.

Perhaps that may have been the reason why United started so poorly with Everton looking far brighter and creating several decent early chances. The first of these, in the 2nd minute, saw Osman unleash a shot that hit Ferdinand before Osman headed it wide, another, three minutes later, saw Jelavic hit a shot that De Gea saved, whilst seconds later Osman latched onto a ball from Pienaar but saw his angled shot fly wide.

Slowly United overcame their nervy start and a Valencia ball in saw a Nani shot go wide, before a shot from the same player, from twenty yards out, was saved by Howard. Evra delivered a good cross but Rooney could only head wide under pressure from Jagielka.

Scholes, struggling to get United on top in the middle of the park, saw a long range shot go wide before Everton responded with a cross from Neville that Distin headed wide, under pressure, at the far post. Nani forced a corner which Howard claimed before Gibson crashed shot wide from twenty-five yards out.

But, with thirty-three minutes gone, Everton took a lead they probably deserved when a Hibbert cross was expertly headed home, by Jelavic, from a tight angle.

United 0 Everton 1 – (Jelavic – 33 minutes)

The goal seemed to sting United into life and Howard did well to keep out a Scholes shot that took major deflections off of two players. But, four minutes before half time, United were level. Nani delivered a good ball in and Rooney got in behind Neville to head home past Howard.

United 1 Everton 1 – (Rooney – 41 minutes)

Still, as half time approached, chances were being created and Osman saw a weak shot saved by De Gea before Welbeck saw a header go wide from a free kick.

Half Time – United 1 Everton 1

Second Half – United got the second half underway and Evra was forced to concede an early corner that Gibson delivered too deep. Six minutes into the half Evra and Osman clashed heads but both were able to carry on after treatment.

United took the lead twelve minutes into the half when Welbeck scored a peach of a goal. Receiving the ball in a central position just outside the area, he sold Heitinga the perfect dummy before taking a step forward and unleashing a great shot, from the edge of the area, into the top corner.

United 2 Everton 1 – (Welbeck – 57 minutes)

United were now in control and after Jagielka had done well to keep out a ball in from Valencia, were to go further ahead when United worked the ball back and forth with Evra and Welbeck featuring prominently before Nani received the ball and with an exquisite chip beat Howard from close range.

United 3 Everton 1 – (Nani – 60 minutes)

But, as the match swung from end to end, Everton clawed themselves back into the match when, six minutes later, Hibbert swung over a cross that Fellaini volleyed in past De Gea.

United 3 Everton 2 – (Fellaini – 66 minutes)

Three minutes later United led by two goals again when Welbeck sold a perfect dummy, played a one two with Rooney for the latter to slot home the 180th United goal of his career.

United 4 Everton 2 – (Rooney – 69 minutes)

But, unfortunately for United, Everton were far from finished and after Jelavic had hit the side-netting, minutes later, the forward gleefully rifled home after a Neville cross in wasn`t properly dealt with by the United defence.

United 4 Everton 3 – (Jelavic – 83 minutes)

Two minutes later Everton were level when a move involving Fellaini and Neville saw Pienaar score from close range.

United 4 Everton 4 – (Pienaar – 85 minutes)

As United pressed for a winner, Evra headed over in the last minute before in the fifth minute of stoppage time a thunderous shot from Ferdinand was turned over the bar by Howard.