A mood of frustration briefly turned to relief just before the break when Wigan spurned their own presentable chance. Jean Beausejour sent in a fine cross from the left flank which narrowly evaded Franco Di Santo but fell perfectly for Arouna Kone, who prodded wastefully wide of the target. The Ivorian missed the game’s next chance, in the first minute of the second period. Again Beausejour was the provider with a pinpoint cross, but this time Kone had to contort to direct a header comfortably off-target.
Those missed chances were quickly exploited when United took a 51st-minute lead, and there was an air of poignancy about the goal as Scholes capped his milestone day in style. It took a wonderfully incisive pass from Carrick to pierce the visitors’ well-organised defence and release Nani, whose cross was palmed out by Al Habsi and into the path of the merciless Scholes.
A simple finish from the veteran cranked up the crowd's volume and the decibel level was sustained as referee Oliver was unmoved by a series of fair, yet bone-crunching challenges from both sets of players. Shortly after the hour mark, United struck a quickfire one-two to end the contest, with Büttner heavily involved in both.
With both teams encamped in the Wigan area, Welbeck nicked possession and fed Giggs, who teed up Büttner. The Dutchman’s shot appeared to be clearing the far post, but it was instead diverted past Al Habsi by Chicharito, lurking with intent and played onside by Boyce. United’s