Javier Hernandez’s first half goal was enough for Manchester United to see off Everton at Goodison Park as they bounced back from their derby day hammering in style.
The Mexican striker was on hand to turn in Patrice Evra‘s left wing cross in the 19th minute to give Sir Alex Ferguson the reposnse he had demanded after watching his United side thrashed 6-1 at the hands of rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford last Sunday. The 3-0 win at Aldershot in midweek had put the Red Devils partially back on the rails but this win on Merseyside will go a long way to rebuilding the confidence that shattered last weekend. Changes were made to the side that succumbed to their heaviest home defeat since 1955 with Rio Ferdiand and Nani dropped. Jonny Evans played despite his red card last week with Nemanja Vidic partnering at the back whilst there were starts for Tom Cleverely and Hernandez. For David Moyes’ Toffees its another defeat that will leave a sting in the tail as he and may others will feel they should have salvaged at least a point. Leighton Baines and Louis Saha both had chances to equalise after Hernandez had opened the scoring as they matched their opponents for a majority of the contest and can take heart from their display. For United victory stood head and shoulders above performances in terms of importance and it was no surprise to see the visitors start brightly.
Ferguson’s changes to the side worked instantly with Wayne Rooney, Danny Wellbeck and Hernandez playing as a front three offering fluency and positivity in the final third. Park Ji Sung, starting in place of the injured Ashley Young, conjured up the away sides fist opportunity shooting low at keeper Tim Howard from six-yards. United continue to press and their dominance was rewarded mid-way through the first half with Hernandez opening the scoring. Evra burst down the left and his pin point cross gave the Mexican no option but to tap the ball into the net to make it 1-0. Normally this is where the Premier League champions kick it up a gear but it was quite the contrary as Everton rallied and forced United to backpedal as they came in search of a leveller. David de Gea was called into action soon after the opener palming away a Leon Osman snapshot before Jack Rodwell dragged an effort wide. The Toffee’s continued to hammer on United’s door and Baines went within inches of restoring parity only to see his swirling free kick smack the cross bar. United attacks had now become a rarity but Hernandez could have sent them into the break 2-0 ahead if he had beaten Howard with a low shot after a neat buildup.
The second half saw the hosts continue their search for an equaliser and De Gea had to be alert again to keep out former United forward Saha who peppered his goal with a couple of efforts from the edge of the penalty area. It was beginning to look like one of those games for Moyes’ side after Rodwell slammed the ball wide after being gifted possession by Evans as the clock bore down towards it’s conclusion. Despite being under pressure for long periods the away side still looked dangerous when they went forward and Wellbeck should made the game secure only to see his angled effort tipped over by Howard as they held on resolutely to claim a priceless victory.