MATCH ARTICLES

22/03/2014 20:32, Report by Tim Oscroft
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The Match: Wayne wins it

Following our on-the-whistle match report, we take a detailed look at the game...

The match Buoyed by Wednesday's win in Europe, United returned to domestic matters in confident style with another potent away performance. Happy to counter-attack from the off, the Reds had already had two good chances in the few minutes before Wayne Rooney's amazing opening goal (more of which to follow), and continued in that vein with that cushion to rest on. The predictable post-half-time flurry from West Ham was soaked up without alarm – with a Michael Carrick-Phil Jones centre-back partnership performing admirably – but another goal would have given a better reflection of United's comfort.

The goals With David Beckham watching on, Rooney produced something, well, Beckham-esque, matching the former player's famous effort at Selhurst Park in August 1996 to put his side ahead in spectacular style. Collecting the ball close to the halfway line, the Reds' no.10 shook off James Tomkins and then had the vision and audacity to spot home keeper Adrian off his line before looping the ball in, leaving the befuddled Spaniard flat on his back and in his own net. If the first goal was genius, the second was a gift as a backtracking Mark Noble put an Ashley Young cross straight onto Rooney's foot. It took sheer, hard graft, too – Rooney raced out of defence as the move began, fed Young and was then in the right place to finish off the move. Text-book – a captain leading by example. The goal takes Rooney past Jack Rowley into third place in United's all-time scoring list with 212 goals.

Star man Wayne Rooney reflected on "one of his worst days in football" less than a week ago, but that brilliant first goal must have partially erased those memories. That moment of magic rocked the home side and they had nothing in the tank to answer it – underlining how world-class players can make all the difference. But credit must also go to Michael Carrick, who looked perfectly at home at the heart of a makeshift defence, while Juan

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