minutes gone as Fletcher's foul allowed Leighton Baines to curl a free-kick over the wall and past the stationary De Gea but against the bar.
Although Hernandez had a weak attempt at Howard following a slick build-up, there was no doubt Everton ended the half on the front feet as Louis Saha twice worked De Gea.
After introducing young Ross Barkley at the break, David Moyes' side continued to press but De Gea blocked a Rodwell drive after Evans gifted the ball to Coleman on the right. The champions were dealt a blow when the lively Cleverley was forced off injured and continued to make heavy weather of a tough assignement.
Welbeck finally brought Howard into action when the American pushed over the striker's shot from Hernandez's intelligent pass with the team's only real goal attempt of the second period. But, after making all three subsitutions, United struggled to find any rhythm and Everton built up another head of steam. Saha dragged wastefully wide when Coleman was better placed and was then blocked during a real goalmouth scramble.
Despite their weary legs, the hosts ensured it was a nervous finale for everybody of a Red persuasion. Coleman managed a couple of efforts through to De Gea but the Spain Under-21 keeper was rarely over-extended, in truth.
Six minutes of injury time were agonising for the away fans and Evra escaped when Magaye Guaye went down under his challenge inside the box with Mark Halsey making the right call and waving away the desperate penalty appeals. It wasn't pretty but it's three away wins in the league already this term after only five were secured during the title-winning campaign last term.