Young appealed for a penalty after tangling with Riether, then brought a fine block from Aaron Hughes after latching onto van Persie’s through-ball.
The Dutchman curled in a fabulous in-swinging cross which Rafael headed over the bar, before Fulham reduced the arrears in bizarre circumstances. Matthew Briggs clipped in a high cross from the left which De Gea, Vidic and Petric all went for, with the Fulham striker seemingly nudging the United stopper as the ball hit Vidic’s heel and trickled over the line.
As nerves began to grip the home support, Rooney and Welbeck were sent on to replace Kagawa and Young, but Fulham almost pulled level immediately. De Gea first tipped Moussa Dembele's swerving drive over the bar, then from the ensuing corner produced a brilliant reaction stop from the same player.
Schwarzer emulated those heroics by flicking over Rafael's fizzing 20-yard effort as the Reds sought to safeguard victory. Sir Alex freshened up his central midfield with the introduction of Ryan Giggs for the final ten minutes, with Anderson making way. Another substitute, Hugo Rodallega, then forced a fine sliding block from Carrick after a neat through-ball from Ruiz.
Rooney fired narrowly past the top corner after latching onto Cleverley's intelligent through-ball, but the afternoon ended on a sour note for