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 players rushed to salute Büttner’s part in the goal, and the left-back was soon at the epicentre of celebrations again as he marked his debut with an unforgettable goal. Picking the ball up on the left flank, the 23-year-old shrugged off the attentions of Kone, motored past Boyce, nicked the ball away from James McCarthy and then beat Ramis before unleashing a shot which squirmed past Al Habsi.
After Lindegaard rushed from his line to deny Kone, Sir Alex took the three-goal advantage as his cue to ring the changes, first replacing Scholes and Giggs with Nick Powell and Van Persie. After the Dutchman had skewed wide under heavy pressure from Gary Caldwell, the Reds’ third change was Jonny Evans giving Nemanja Vidic a breather.
In the game's final act of note, Powell followed Büttner, van Persie and Kagawa in marking his home debut with a goal, cutting infield and arrowing in