Stoke 1 United 2
Two goals from Javier Hernandez were enough to give United their first away win, in the Premier League, this season.
Sir Alex Ferguson, after the Champions League excursion in midweek, shuffled his pack with Van der Sar, Ferdinand, Scholes, O`Shea and Berbatov returning.
United - Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, O`Shea, Scholes, Nani, Hernandez, Berbatov
Subs - Kuszczak, Brown, Smalling, Carrick, Obertan, Macheda, Gibson
Stoke got the half under way and it was to be a pulsating first forty-five minutes. As expected Stoke were going the aerial route and Van der Sar did well to claim too early high crosses. Walters saw a shot flash wide before a divine ball from Fletcher to Berbatov required the quick intervention of Sorenson.
The home side won a corner, taken by Pennant but it provided United with a great counter-attack opportunity with three attackers against two defenders, unfortunately, too much time was taken and the opportunity was lost after passes were exchanged by Nani and Hernandez and Berbatov saw his shot blocked.
Pushing forward, Evra saw a shot blocked and turned behind for a corner, it was taken short and easily cleared. Stoke won two throws in quick succession but United coped well with Delap`s trademark trait. Stoke, attacking, saw a goal bound shot from Etherington strike Walters before a free kick, from Pennant, had to be scrambled away.
Hernandez won a free kick in a central position, outside the area, but Nani struck his free kick against the wall. With twenty-seven minutes completed, United took the lead.
Nani won a corner, off Collins, it was taken short and when it was played back in Vidic headed across goal where Hernandez produced a spectacular back header to score his 4th goal for United an h is 2nd in the Premier League.
Stoke 0 United 1 (Hernandez-27 minutes)
Neville, making his 600th appearance for United, saw yellow after a crude tackle on Etherington and was lucky not to see a second before half time when he again caught Etherington with a lunging tackle. Scholes also picked up a yellow card for a rash challenge but United finished the half well with Evra having a low shot blocked and then seeing a header go just over the bar.
Half Time - Stoke 0 United 1
After surviving a second yellow card appeal on the stroke of half time, Sir Alex chose to replace Neville with Wes Brown at half time. Stoke pushed forward with Pennant taking a free kick out wide that came to nothing before a Collins tackle on Evra earned the Stoke defender a yellow card.
Stoke, pressing forward, were wide open to the counter attack and Evra had the opportunity to strike, after bursting clear, but the move came to nothing. Another Evra led counter-attack saw the defender appeal for a penalty after Delap looked to have pushed him in the back, but the referee was having none of it.
Delap launched several of those long throws towards the United are but the defence held firm before Evra had a second penalty appeal waved away after Huth appeared to handle the ball, although, in all fairness, he had little chance of getting out of the way.
A long, quick clearance by Van der Sar to Berbatov saw a Hernandez shot go just wide of the far post. With eighty-one minutes gone, Stoke were back on level terms when the ball was played out wide to Sanli who cut into the area and curled a great shot into the top corner.
Stoke 1 United 1 (Sanli-81 minutes)
With the home crowd buoyant it looked as if two more points were going to slip away but five minutes after conceding the equaliser, United were back in front when Hernandez netted his second of the game, scoring a poacher`s goal after Evra`s shot had been deflected into his path.
Stoke 1United 2 (Hernandez-86 minutes)
With four minutes of stoppage time declared Hernandez could have had his hat-trick but Sorenson pulled off a flying save to tip the shot around the post. United had that first away win, in the Premier League, this season and closed the gap on those ahead of them in the table.
Vital Man United on:
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