MATCH ARTICLES

09/02/2014 19:19, Report by Ben Hibbs
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Full of frustration

After our full-time match report, we delve deeper into the clash with Fulham...

The match It couldn't have been more frustrating. United had vast swathes of possession and heaped pressure on Fulham's deep-lying defence but something fundamental was missing – conviction and belief in front of goal maybe, or just bad luck? Nevertheless, Fulham's first-half goal was too easily conceded. The second half brought similar disappointment in front of goal until Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick struck. But the offering of a morale-boosting win was snatched away at the last when Darren Bent pounced. Offered a carrot, beaten with the stick.

The goals Despite United's persistent pressure, it looked like the reward in front of goal might never come. But van Persie's close-range finish from Juan Mata's assist on 78 minutes was a simple route back into the game to make it 1-1, and Carrick's deflected strike released a pressure valve of frustration inside Old Trafford as the ball arced into the top corner. Sadly, lapses in concentration with play going the other way proved costly again.

Star men The game lacked an outstanding performer but at various points Carrick, Ashley Young and Juan Mata did their best to carve out opportunities. Carrick should really have been credited with giving United all three points, if only the Reds had been able to see the match out.

Sub-plots Four ex-Reds returned to Old Trafford led by former first team coach Rene Meulensteen, with Academy products and deadline-day movers Ryan Tunnicliffe, who made his debut

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