Monday, 26 March 2012

Rooney's first half strike enough for United

A disjointed Manchester United edged out Fulham 1-0 thanks to a Wayne Rooney goal in the first half.

Despite not ever reaching top gear, Manchester United extended their lead to three points at the top of the table; however in typical United fashion they won without being brilliant.

Fulham came to Old Trafford on the back of successive defeats to Aston Villa and Swansea and had every right to feel aggrieved after Danny Murphy appeared to be fouled in the box by Michael Carrick; however Michael Oliver decided it wasn't a foul.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side dominated the early proceedings without ever threatening Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal, and in fact it was the visitors who went the closest early on, as twice Clint Dempsey was denied by good saves from David De Gea.

In fact in the first half United never looked like scoring until they actually did get the break through five minutes before half-time. A corner wasn't cleared properly and Young crossed to the back post where Riise failed to clear and Evans found Rooney who scored from a few yards out.

Half time came and went and the impressive Antonio Valencia should've done better after being put through by Ryan Giggs; however his shot was tame and easily dealt with by Schwarzer.

Manchester United stepped it up a notch in the second half and it wasn't long before they created another second chance through Ashley Young. The former Aston Villa winger did brilliantly as he cut inside Stephen Kelly and his curling effort was on target only for Schwarzer to deny him with a top save.

Somehow United didn't go two up as Young was denied brilliantly twice by Schwarzer and the follow up feel to Giggs whose shot was blocked by Brede Hangelaand on route to goal.

With time running out United looked nervous in attempting to hold on for a priceless three points and Dempsey nearly drew Fulham level, however he just couldn't reach a delightful through ball from Moussa Dembele.

As three minutes extra time was announced, Martin Jol's side were left feeling angered as Murphy was fouled by Carrick in the penalty area; however the close decision went in the home sides favour.

The full time whistle was met with palpable relief around Old Trafford as United held on for a massive 1-0 victory to ensure they moved three clear of their city rivals at the top of the Premier League.

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