Manchester United 1 Everton 0: match report
Read a full match report of the Premier League game between Manchester United and Everton at Old Trafford on Saturday April 23 2011.
1 - 0
Saturday, April 23 12:45
Up and over: Javier Hernandez heads Manchester United's winner against Everton Photo: GETTY IMAGES
By Mark Ogden 2:45PM BST 23 Apr 2011
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Javier Hernandez edged Manchester United to within seven points of a record 19th league title with late winner at Old Trafford following a nervy encounter with Everton.
Everton had seen two penalty appeals rejected by referee Peter Walton prior to the goal and will feel aggrieved at emerging with nothing for their efforts.
But with four games left to play – including fixtures at Arsenal and at home to Chelsea – United now know that two wins and a draw will confirm the title.
But with Everton’s recent form seeing them climb to seventh in the table, such tinkering was always likely to be a risky tactic against David Moyes’s team.
As has been proved on numerous occasions already this season, the likes of Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson and John O’Shea lack the quality of the more established players that they replaced and it showed as United struggled to put Everton under any sustained pressure.
The home side did not even test Everton keeper Tim Howard until 29 minutes had elapsed, but the former United number one did well to deny Javier Hernandez following his snapshot from Wayne Rooney’s pass.
Everton were unfortunate not to win a penalty on 36 minutes, however, when Evans’s clumsy challenge on Jermaine Beckford went unpunished by referee Peter Walton.
Moyes’s team were then denied what appeared a certain penalty on 56 minutes when Rio Ferdinand bundled substitute Victor Anichebe over on the edge of the six yard box. Once again, Walton ignored Everton appeals.
United were certainly riding their luck, but with Everton looking comfortable at the back, Ferguson replaced Nani with Michael Owen on 63 minutes in an effort to find a crucial goal.
And Owen, who has scored just once in the Premier League this season, almost put United ahead when his effort from Fabio’s cross was deflected onto the near post by defender Sylvain Distin.
Everton also went close, though, when United target Jack Rodwell forced Edwin van der Sar into full-stretch save to push his 20-yard strike past the post.
United appeared to be heading for a draw they simply did not want when Hernandez saw a header brilliantly tipped over the bar by Howard on 81 minutes.
But the Mexican striker won the game three minutes later with a brave header at the far post that left Howard beaten and moved United nine points clear of Chelsea and Arsenal.
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