– to Javier Hernandez’s unselfishness and a clever, defence-splitting Anderson pass.
The ball sent the Mexican clean through and he would have been entitled to try and beat Jussi Jaaskelainen himself. Instead, Hernandez looked up and calmly rolled the ball across the area, leaving Rooney with an open goal.
West Ham fans, seeing their side 1-0 down so early, must have been fearing an onslaught. But the Reds didn’t threaten again until Nani and then Smalling went close in the 28th minute. Nani’s superb, screwed volley looked for all money like it was arrowing into the bottom corner before Daniel Potts intervened on the line. In the next phase of play, Chris Smalling met Rafael’s cross eight yards out but could only head straight at Jaaskelainen.
Before the break, Nani let fly with a speculative 25-yard effort, Rooney forced Jaaskelainen into a smart stop from similar distance and Anderson squandered a half-chance after linking well with Hernandez. In contrast, West Ham looked toothless, failing to test Anders Lindegaard in the first period.
The Reds should have been 2-0 up inside three minutes of the restart, but wayward finishing by Hernandez meant Alou Diara’s error on the edge of his penalty area went unpunished. There followed a spell of sustained West Ham pressure, although solid United defending –