Football: Robin van Persie netted the fastest Premier League goal of the season against West Ham United to leave Manchester United a point clear of neighbours Manchester City at the top of the table.
In stark contrast to the weekend’s game against QPR when they struggled to find their tempo until the second half, the league leaders scored after just 32 seconds.
Van Persie flicked the ball past Winston Reid and his goalbound effort took a fortunate deflection off James Collins, looping over a stranded Jussi Jaaskelainen for his 12th goal of the season.
The Dutchman’s strike was the fastest goal scored at Old Trafford in the league since 2001 when another Dutchman — Ruud van Nistelrooy — caught Southampton cold to score after just 31 seconds in a 6-1 victory.
But from then on, as has been the pattern of United’s play over recent games, there was very little in the final third to trouble the Hammers defence.
The former champions lacked a cutting edge with a pretty much redundant Jaaskelainen only having to save tame efforts from Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney.
The Hammers fans will however travel south buoyed by their team’s impressive start to the season and their courageous fight on the night.
Having defended well throughout they had an opportunity themselves to equalise with 20 minutes left to play.
Substitute Carlton Cole, on for the ineffective Andy Carroll, nodded the ball down to Kevin Nolan. His pass found Matt Taylor who mistimed his shot from inside the penalty area.
And they had another chance to steal a point when Cole this time found himself just a few yards from goal, but his shot drew a crucial save from Anders Lindegaard in the closing minutes of the game.
After the game Irons manager Sam Allardyce was pleased with his teams overall performance. He said: “It was a big problem obviously conceding the goal and obviously the way we conceded the goal in the first 30 seconds, but our response was really very good tonight.
“I feel that our defensive structure was outstanding to say what chances did Manchester United create tonight and the answer to that in none really.
“We went right to the very end and got better as an attacking force as the game on and tried to see if we could get the equaliser, but couldn’t quite make it.”