run from Victor Moses culminated in a shot which Carrick chested to safety. The bulk of the visitors' early play was, however, spent trying to congest central areas; a plan which United tore up inside eight minutes.
Patrice Evra ended some patient possession play by bursting into the Wigan area, bypassing challenges from Moses and Antolin Alcaraz and sliding a ball across the area for Park, who stabbed a neat finish around Maynor Figueroa and past the unsighted Ali Al-Habsi. Scenting blood, United continued to pour forward down the flanks, flooding the space afforded by Wigan's three-man central defensive line-up. Park found Berbatov, whose pull-back was destined for Chicharito until Caldwell intervened. Moments later the Mexican's neat turn was negated by a hooked challenge from Alcaraz, yet referee Phil Dowd ignored the United striker's compelling claim for a penalty.
A second goal seemed inevitable. Caldwell escaped embarrassment as his pressured clearance ricocheted against Al-Habsi, while Gibson's effort from 25 yards was deflected wide by Ronnie Stam and Nani's free-kick from similar range curled a yard off-target.
Jordi Gomez spurned a promising free-kick from a similar position for the visitors, scuffing his shot against the wall, before Moses drew an important block from Gibson after fashioning space for himself in the United area. Stam then flung a superb ball across Anders Lindegaard's area, only for the Latics' lack of attacking numbers to undo its excellence.