Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: West Brom 1 Manchester United 2

After the kind of year he had, Wayne Rooney will have been one of those who waved 2010 off with a two fingered salute.

But aside from matrimonial strife, an abysmal World Cup and near break with his employers (really, all that in 12 months?), Rooney’s year was defined in a football sense by having failed to score a goal from open play for United since March.

It only took three minutes of the New Year to arrive. Auspicious portents? Not quite. He appeared to damage his ankle with minutes to go. He battled on, but looked to be in pain.

Nevertheless, it has also proved a profitable beginning for Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Manchester United manager began last year with a rant at a referee, and ended it in similar vexed mood last week at Birmingham City.

This time the official did him the favour. West Brom should have had a penalty and United a red card for Gary Neville. Chris Foy gave neither.

West Bromwich Albion got one eventually when Rio Ferdinand took out Jerome Thomas, but Peter Odemwingie missed from the spot.

Javier Hernandez was not so careless. When the ball found him unmarked in the area with a header all for himself, he nodded calmly into the net.

Foy’s howler first. Gary Neville careered into Graham Dorrans like an annoying drunk as the midfielder was about to let fly from inside the six yard box. The United defender did not so much as make a passing acquaintance with the ball, yet Foy waved it away with the superior air of an aristocrat dismissing the servants, robbing West Brom of the lead.

It was especially brutal because West Brom had recovered so admirably after Rooney had taken the lead, which, because of the sheer incompetence of the West Brom defending, could have shattered morale in Roberto di Matteo’s side.

The back four simply watched as Patrick Evra crossed into the middle of the area to Rooney, whose view was obscured and his positioning off, and the ball was so low when it got to him that he bent double like an arthritic pensioner looking for his bus pass, directing his header straight at the ground in front of him as a result.

Scott Carson moved even slower than the ball, which is saying something considering it bounced twice before it reached the goal, where it flopped into the corner.

A bad start for the home side, but as United’s away record has demonstrated, they are open to exploitation.

Odemwingie almost bundled himself through and then a long ball was poorly defended by Nemanja Vidic. His header found James Morrison outside the area, and it should have been safe enough, but the midfielder thrashed it first time with the outside of his boot into the top corner. Some goal.

West Brom should have gone ahead when Thomas’ leg was taken away by Ferdinand. Odemwingie slid his penalty at least two feet wide.

The pain for home fans doubled when Hernandez was allowed to put United in front with an unmarked header in front of goal.

Nine games away, seven draws, two wins. United’s away record looks marginally better.

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