Second half comeback sees visitors claim a point
The mistake - under no pressure at all - cost United vital points as they let slip another lead to potentially fall further behind in the Premier League title race.
The big news before the game was manager Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to put Wayne Rooney on the bench after their reported midweek falling out. Javier Hernandez lined up with Dimitar Berbatov in his absence as veteran Ryan Giggs returned to the fold after a hamstring injury.
For the Baggies, Somen Tchoyi was handed his first start by boss Roberto Di Matteo. Summer signing Marc Antoine Fortune was drafted in up top after Peter Odemwingie failed to pass a fitness test.
Despite a strong start from the visitors, they quickly fell behind to a Javier Hernandez tap-in on five minutes. Nani's free-kick was weakly parried into his path by goalkeeper Scott Carson and he had the simplest of finishes from five yards.
The Mexican had been deep in prayer on the half-way line before kick-off. Luckily for him, the occasional England shot-stopper was happy to answer them.
Minutes later, the visitors almost deservedly draw level as a low cross by Fortune was miraculously tapped round the post by Rafael Da Silva with Chris Brunt waiting. Poor officiating saw a goal kick given to rub salt into the wound.
United then swept up the pitch after the reprieve. After strong inter-play, Berbatov curled an excellent effort just wide from the edge of the penalty area with Carson beaten.
The home side's second goal again was a touch self-inflicted after Nani followed up a Nicky Shorey slip on the half-way line to slide home Berbatov's centre on 24 minutes. The Portuguese swooped with aplomb after he calmly played the Bulgarian in after his driving run.
The second half kicked off in exciting style as a Nani cross was hammered against the base of the post by Nemanja Vidic.
However, everything was to turn upside down for United shortly after as Anderson hauled down Tchoyi on the side of the area.
Brunt hammered a low free kick into a melee of players. The final deflection came off Patrice Evra’s legs on 50 minutes and couldn’t be hauled back by Edwin van der Sar.
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Things were to turn even worse for the home side shortly after. Brunt’s high cross was catastrophically spilled into Tchoyi’s path five minutes later by Van der Sar later to the scores.
The giant Dutchman had been under no pressure at all from any players and simply lost the ball in flight. It was shock stuff from the veteran shot-stopper.
Ferguson called for his top class reserves Rooney and Scholes soon after. A low shot from Rooney - after a back pass to Carson was punished - saw Gabriel Tamas clear off the line in heroic fashion.
Brunt continued to star and his rasping long-distance shot had Van der Sar scrambling across his goal as Di Matteo's men gave as good as they got.
In a helter skelter end to the match, neither side could find a winner to leave United crestfallen and the Baggies jubilant.
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