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Steve's Report - Stoke 0-2 United
Manchester United extended their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier Leagu once again after running out 2-0 winners against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon.
There was a hostile atmosphere at the Stadium as Stoke fans tried to fire up their team in the hope of producing an unlikely victory against the Reds, but it just got nastier and nastier as the game went on as classless Stoke fans sang Munich chants to try and rile the visiting support.
But on the pitch it was United who got off to the perfect start with Michael Carrick having the ball in the net before the four minute mark. A van Persie corner was not cleared properly and Carrick scrambled home his second goal of the season.
United could have been further in front when van Persie once again sent in the corner and this time Patrice Evra fired over the bar, then Wayne Rooney saw an effort saved by Asmir Begovic in the Potters goal.
The Stoke fans broke into a one minute's applause for a young fan that sadly passed away during the week; he was honoured in the 14 minutes as he was 14 when he was taken in his sleep.
And it was the home side that were next to have an effort on goal, big German defender Robert Huth got his head to a Glenn Whelan free kick, but all he could do was direct the ball wide of the target.
The Stoke defence that has been a trademark of Tony Pulis' play over their Premiership seasons looked to be not as good as it once was when Carrick managed to get a header in from a Rooney corner and van Persie had a stab at goal from a full 45 yards, again though, wide of the goal.
In another attack, van Persie looked like he was determined to end his goal scoring drought when he fired in a shot from the edge of the area that was well saved and tipped around the post by Begovic who looked equally determined to stop the United marksman in his path.
A bit of a tap to the head left Andy Wilkinson needing his head bandaging up, but the little cherub finally got over it then Rooney smashed in a free kick from 30 yards which was again just wide of the target. Then at the other end Shawcross, who has to be the most over-rated defender ever deflected a Charlie Adam corner wide of goal.
Half Time Stoke 0 United 1
It was United who were first to create a chance in the second 45 minutes, Javier Hernandez played in Van Persie with a pass but the angle got too tight for the Dutchman and he fired into the side netting.
Stoke were still looking to get back into the game though, Steven Nzonzi crossed the ball over from the left, Ryan Shotton headed the ball down and Jon Walters showed once again that he is never a Premiership player by blasting the ball well over the bar.
Then Adam, who is good enough for the top flight, tried an effort from the half way line with De Gea off his line, the United keeper had to get back but managed to save the effort without any drama.
Crazy haired Kenwyne Jones had a go from the edge of the box, but he was wide of the target although it did show that United could do with another goal, even if they were only in second gear.
But any ultra slim hope that Stoke had of getting back into the game was taken away from them when Wilkinson tripped van Persie in the box and United's top scorer ended his baron spell with a cool as you like penalty that gave Begovic no chance.
And the player ran straight to Fergie to celebrate.
By now it was all over for the home side, but they did have time to show just how poor they are in front of goal when Adam found Shotton who then should have knocked the back of the net out, but instead fired straight at De Gea with United fans howling with laughter.
Former United player Michael Owen came on for a little jog around but the only this that Stoke could muster in the dying minutes was a free kick from Adam that De Gea had to actually save.
Stoke: A Begovic, R Huth, A Wilkinson, R Shawcross, G Cameron (C Jerome , 71), G Whelan, J Walters (M Owen, 77), C Adam, R Shotton, S Nzonzi, K Jones (P Crouch, 84)
Subs not used: T Sorensen, W Palacios, M Kightly, D Whitehead
United: D de Gea, P Evra, N Vidic, R Ferdinand, P Jones, R van Persie, W Rooney, L Valencia , M Carrick, S Kagawa, J Hernandez (D Welbeck, 78)
Subs not used: A Buttner, T Cleverley, C Smalling, R Giggs, J Evans, A Lindegaard
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Source: United Mad
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