Southampton 2 United 3
Two late goals, in a five goal thriller, were enough to give United all three points and Sir Alex Ferguson a win on the occasion of hi s100th League game in charge of the club.
Sir Alex surprised many with two changes in his starting line-up this afternoon, with Rio Ferdinand considered fit to partner Nemanja Vidic and Anders Lindegaard preferred in goal to David De Gea.
United had the first opportunity when Van Persie, from a Carrick pass, saw his shot drift wide of the far post. Before, in the 14th minute, Lallana saw a shot go wide after a smartly taken corner kick had almost caught United out.
With 17 minutes on the clock, Southampton took the lead. Kagawa lost possession and when our hosts worked the ball to Puncheon there was Lambert rising above everybody to head past Lindegaard.
United responded with Davis having to turn a shot from Kagawa around the post before, in the 23rd minute, United were level. A cross from Valencia saw the Southampton full-back, Clyne, slip and there was Van Persie, at the far post, volleying home.
Southampton were still not in awe of United and Lambert shot wide form the edge of the box before Lallana shot wide form a similar position. In between, from a free kick in a central position just outside the area, Van Persie had curled a free kick wide of the upright.
As half time approached, a header from Evra, at the far post, was saved by Davis.
Half Time - Southampton 1 United 1
United started the second half well and Kagawa saw a shot zip past the post after a decent ball in from Van Persie. The Dutchman then side-footed wide after a poor clearance from Davis had been worked back into the danger area.
But, with 56 minutes on the clock, United fell behind again. This time, with Lambert being the provider, it was Evra who slipped and there was Schneiderlin to score his first goal at St Marys`.
Sir Alex responded by making a double change, on the hour mark, bringing on Scholes and Nani with Cleverley and Kagawa going off. Scholes almost made an instant impact but his fine ball to Van Persie saw Davis pull off a save.
United were presented with a great chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty on 70 minutes. Hooiveld had gone through the back of Van Persie but when the Dutchman tried to chip Davis from the spot, the keeper thrust up an arm and pushed the ball to safety.
A third change was made with Sir Alex replacing Welbeck with Hernandez but Southampton appeared to be riding the storm until three minutes from time. A corner was swung over and there was Van Persie, unmarked, to head home.
With four minutes of stoppage time announced United were to grab that winner leaving Southampton desolate and it was to come from that man Van Persie. This time the goal came from close range after Ferdinand had seen a header come back off of the post giving Van Persie the opportune moment to score his 100th Premier League goal.
A clear case of victory wrestled from the jaws of defeat.