Edwin van der Sar posted his first outing since early August, emerging unscathed as Kiko Macheda's solitary goal gave United a narrow win over Everton at a rain-sodden Stobart Stadium.
The veteran Dutchman will be delighted to be back in action after being sidelined by a broken hand all season, but he was given little to do throughout the match, especially during a first half which failed to yield a shot on target from either side.
United's clearest openings before the break came when Robbie Brady's goal-bound shot was deflected over, while Joshua King also blazed off-target from inside the hosts' area. Everton, for their part, offered precious little in attack but remained sturdy in defence. In midfield, possession was swapped with regularity.
In fairness, teeming pre-match rain made for a slippery turf unconducive to anything but the unpredictable. However, as the game wore on and the elements became kinder, the intricacy of United's play gradually emerged.
Magnus Eikrem and Oliver Norwood both unsuccessfully chanced their arm from distance early in the second half, but the deadlock was broken in clinical style just before the hour mark.
Macheda laid the ball off to