By Lee Savery.
Javier Hernandez scored the winner as United came from 2-1 down to beat Stoke City at Old Trafford.
The visitors had taken the lead after just four minutes when Erik Pieters surged forward from left back with ease before crossing to Peter Crouch. His header was saved by David de Gea before Jonny Evans’ attempted clearance hit Crouch and found the net.
Just before half-time United equalised when Wayne Rooney’s header was saved before Van Persie put the rebound away. The teams were level for just two minutes as Phil Jones conceded a silly foul on the edge of the area and the free-kick from Marko Arnautovic went in off the underside of the crossbar.
The turnaround happened late in the second half with two goals in two minutes before the 80th minute. The first came when Rooney headed in Van Persie’s corner at the near post. The winner came from another left footed cross, this time from Patrice Evra, who found Hernandez at the far post who headed in.
It was a win in the United way of old with a never-say-die attitude that has not been seen in the squad this season. The result will be a relief for David Moyes and everyone to do with Manchester United after a very poor display for much of the game. The first half was full of individual errors that allowed Stoke to have a comfortable half.
De Gea had to make good saves from Crouch and Jon Walters to keep the score down in the first half. The home side were only threatening from range with the likes of Nani and Rooney hitting those shots. Nani would later be taken off for Adnan Januzaj to a chorus of boos from the Old Trafford crowd.
United took control of the game in the second half but failed to break down a stubborn Stoke side who had sat deeper with their biggest threat Arnautovic going off injured early in the second half. Moyes juggled the team around with Rooney even going into midfield, a position he was reportedly unhappy at playing under Sir Alex Ferguson last season.
Eventually the breakthrough was found in a style the former manager, who was watching in the stands, would have been proud of. The current manager walked off with a smile of relief. The result is a positive one but there are still issues, especially in a defence, that need to be addressed.
A big win for the Red Devils where fans will hope they can kick on from this moment on. A, possible, defining moment in the outlook of the season as a whole.
United team: De Gea; Smalling (Valencia 76), Jones, Evans, Evra; Nani (Januzaj 58′), Cleverley (Hernández), Carrick, Kagawa; Rooney, van Persie.
Unused Substitutes: Lindegaard, Rafael, Young, Fellaini,
United goals: Van Persie 43′, Rooney 78′, Hernandez 80′.
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