Mexican striker nets early to hand Red Devils a vital away victory as they start on road to recovery following derby defeat last weekendA single Chicarito goal helped Manchester United get back to winning ways in the Premier League as Sir Alex Ferguson's side held off a tenacious Everton side who were unfortunate not to earn at least a point in a close game at Goodison Park.
The Mexican's goal in the first half was stoutly defended by the visitors as David Moyes' side were more than equal to the visitors for much of the contest with the home side having two penalty appeals turned down.
With both sides coming off the back of home league derby defeats; Everton lost by two to Liverpool at the start of the month, and Manchester United were humiliated by Manchester City last Sunday, a win for both sides would go a long way to heal those painful wounds.
Both managers made changes for this fixture with David Moyes bringing in Seamus Coleman and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to reinforce the defences against a Manchester United side who were hungry to put last Sunday’s horrors behind them. Sir Alex Ferguson made wholesale changes, as would be expected, with Rio Ferdinand and Nani dropping to the bench as the Scot brought back Tom Cleverley into the starting XI after injury.
In what had been a troublesome six days for the Old Trafford club one glimmer of good news emanating from the beleaguered camp was the contract extension of the Chicharito, who confirmed his desire to stay with the Premier League champions. Ferguson’s faith in the striker paid off in the first half when a slick move from the left of midfield which involved Cleverley and Danny Welbeck opened space for Patrice Evra in the channel and the French international’s cross across the face of goal gave the Mexican a simple tap-in from only a few yards to give the visitors the lead. It would have been harder to miss from such short range.
Everton needed to respond and for the remainder of the first period it was the hosts who took control of the game and produced the greater of the chances.
Jack Rodwell would have been miffed to not have scored when his quick thinking nicked the ball away from Cleverley but his left foot strike to the far post didn’t bend enough to slide in beyond David De Gea - unlucky.
Everton’s best chance to level up came shortly before the break when Darren Fletcher fouled Marouane Fellaini on the edge of the box. Leighton Baines would have been licking his lips with the prospect of the range of the foul and his sweetly struck shot rose and fell over the wall only to smash against the crossbar with De Gea reduced to helpless spectator.
Moyes must have been pleased with the response from his charges as the home side certainly showed they were equal to the task of getting back into the contest as the players headed to the dressing room.
Jack Rodwell was still looking the most likely to score for Everton in the second half and when Coleman slid the ball inside from the right, Rodwell’s dart to the middle allowed space to open as the defence continued their retreat, the youngster then decided the time was right to hammer a shot high and to the right of De Gea which forced a sprawling save from the young Spaniard which appeared to hit him in the face. All in the line of duty.
Manchester United were forced into a change when Cleverley limped from the field to replaced by Nani as Ferguson changed his hand.
Everton looked susceptible to the counter attack all afternoon and when a long range cross field pass was beautifully chested down by Welbeck only a great save from former United goalkeeper Tim Howard kept the scoreline intact. On reflection Welbeck should have let rip earlier as the angle he left himself to work with was narrow to say the least.
Ferguson continued to alter the face of his attack when Dimitar Berbatov replaced goalscorer Chicharito and shortly after, Welbeck came off for Antonio Valencia as the visitors continued to find the second goal. These changes were indicative of the efforts of Everton who were toiling in their pursuit to find parity their play warranted.
The home side continued to huff and puff and a frantic spell late on could have yielded a penalty when an Everton corner was not dealt with cleanly referee Mark Halsey didn’t see enough and kept the whistle from his mouth which summarised the day Everton had.
An unusual substitution took place as the game was drawing to it's conclusion when assistant referee Andy Halliday slipped and injured himself meaning Phil Dowd was called upon to run the line for the final moments.
The resulting added time was enough for Everton to claim for another penalty when Magaye Gueye also slipped as he was challeging for the ball with Evra. Halsey said no again and that was that for Everton.
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