Date: 1st January 2011 at 2:51pm
Written by:

United gave a below par performance but still picked up all three points a the Hawthorns this afternoon.

Sir Alex Ferguson rang the changes for the trip to the Hawthorns. Given rare starts were Kuszczak, Neville and Obertan. Nani failed to shrug off his hip problem whilst there was also no place in the eighteen for Giggs. Veteran keeper, Van der Sar`s absence was put down to a bout of flu.

United – Kuszczak, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Berbatov, Rooney, Obertan

Subs – Amos, Fabio, Evans, Gibson, Owen, Hernandez, Bebe

West Brom got the action underway and Kuszczak had an early touch of the ball saving a Mulumbu shot. Seconds later United were ahead, when Obertan fed the ball back to Evra and his cross was calmly headed home, from eight yards out, by Rooney for his first goal from open play since March.

West Brom 0 United 1 (Rooney – 2 mins)

Unfortunately, the goal did little to dampen West Brom`s ardour and the home side, if we were are to be honest, went on to enjoy a better share of the remainder of the first half than United did.

Playing some free-flowing football, West Brom forced United back and Neville was caught day-dreaming by Thomas but the player couldn`t get nay direction and power on his effort.

Just before the quarter of an hour mark West Brom were level. A long ball was played out of defence, Vidic rose to head clear but when his header fell invitingly to Morrison the Albion player smashed home an unstoppable volley from approximately twenty-two yards out.

West Brom 1 United 1 (Morrison – 14 mins)

Buoyed by the equaliser, West Brom continued to pus forward and Kuszczak smartly saved a Thomas shot before Neville was extremely fortunate not to concede a penalty after he clearly fouled Dorrans as the player bore down on goal.

Smarting from what was a poor decision; Brunt smashed an effort narrowly over the bar before Odemwingie fired wide after another decent bout of possession.

A rare United attack saw Rooney win a fortunate corner but Obertan`s delivery, to the far post, was cleared by the home defence. As half time approached West still pushed forward and Dorran`s hit the side netting, when he should have gone across the goal with his shot before Brunt saw a free kick, given after a Vidic hand-ball, deflected wide.

Half time and United hadn`t really got started, the passing was poor and the defence was being too easily penetrated by foraging West Brom players.

Half Time – West Brom 1 United 1

West Brom started the second half in similar fashion to the way they ended the second half. A good run form Thomas saw Brunt fire wide before a Dorrans shot was deflected behind for a corner form which Scharner headed just wide.

With an hour gone Sir Alex rung the changes, Obertan and Berbatov departed to make way for Gibson and Hernandez. Two minutes later West Brom had a great chance to go into the lead. Ferdinand was adjudged to have tripped Thomas but the resulting penalty saw Odemwingie slice his spot kick wide of the post.

The let-off galvanised United and Rooney sprung into life with a run into the box that saw Carson rush out to smother the ball. Rooney then saw a free kick cleared before United forced two corners in quick succession, the first of which appeared to clearly strike the arm of Thomas in the area but Chris Foy was having none of it.

Moments later though United were in front. Carrick saw a shot pushed around the post for a corner and when Rooney delivered the cross, Hernandez, in space, glanced his header into the net.

West Brom 1 United 2 (Hernandez – 75 mins)

United were pushing forward with purpose now and Rooney, after a one-two with Fletcher, headed over. A late rally by West Brom saw Thomas jink into the box only to see his well placed shot blocked by Vidic before Brunt, from distance fired over from twenty yards.

As the final whistle approached Rooney looked to have picked up an injury after a clash with Brunt but came back on to hobble on and do his best. After navigating the five minutes of stoppage time, United had the three points and were still unbeaten in the Premier League.

Full Time – West Brom 1 United 2

Join The Vital Debate

Vital Man United on: facebook

Vital Man United on: twitter