All tickets were sold before I qualified to get a ticket for our first meeting with David Moyes since he departed and so I was fully prepared to watch the match in the pub. I was therefore delighted to hear from an old mate from university earlier in the week asking if I would like to join him and his fiancée in his corporate seats in the Stretford End. Well, I had to make the most of that opportunity... and onward to Old Trafford I was headed.

Fortunately enough I work in Manchester so had a quick drive to Sale straight from work before getting driven to an Industrial Estate to park up and then into the Corporate Lounge for a quick pint. I was very impressed with the layout inside the lounge, all very swish as you might expect. I was given a free match programme and Robin and Jess led me up into their excellent seats behind the goal. The Everton fans away on my far right hand side.

Prior to kick-off, we were asked to get into our seats a little early to ensure we were present to observe the large banner which moved across the Stretford End in memory of the deceased Bill Foulkes – one of the Busby Babes who survived the Munich Plane Crash… a minute's applause followed.

The team was probably just about as expected. Despite impressive performances by both against Stoke City at the weekend, Osman and Deulofeu were replaced by Barkley and Mirallas. Marouane Fellaini featured in holding midfield against his former employers with Rooney, also against his formers, leading the line in attack with Welbeck supporting.

My biggest worry was seeing Martin Atkinson listed as the referee though the way his performance panned out would suggest Atkinson has more of a grievance with Moyes than Everton as for Old Trafford he didn’t give them many decisions (certainly not as many as I’ve seen other referees dish out at Old Trafford) and tended to let the play flow. I was actually rather impressed with his performance and that too of the whole crowd. I looked on enviously at the sea of blue that was the Everton supporters end as they were in terrific voice throughout, as too were the home crowd.

Everton began the game (attacking the Stretford End, where I was sat) on the front foot and took the game to Manchester United. Barkley pushed on to good effect early on and Mirallas was getting very involved in the game, the Belgian winger cutting inside and forcing De Gea into a decent save. We started brightly but Manchester United didn’t take long to settle either and the first half in particular was very open. Lukaku forced a good stop from De Gea later in the half though Everton’s best chances went begging not through poor shot placement but more through an inaccurate final pass or poor decision-making with final ball.

Manchester United did have the better of the chances in the first half. Rooney forced a fine stop from Howard and had Rooney’s other drive had deflected an inch more to the left Manchester United would have gone into the second half a goal to the good rather than level but, luckily for us, the ball came back off the inside of the post and away.

At half-time in previous years at Old Trafford, if you had gotten to the break at 0-0, you would have a sense of “Phew, we survived”... though I think now Everton are going to places realizing and believing they are capable of the win. Moyes built most of this squad and a great squad it is too, but maybe that little injection of belief is what was needed to move us forward. Martinez seems to be proving this and more…

The second half and the game was more of the same. Perhaps not quite as open but ebbing and flowing both ways. On 58 minutes, Moyes had seen enough of Rafael and Kagawa (frankly I’d seen enough of Kagawa myself; he was rancid) and replaced them with Nani and the excellent Januzaj. Proceeding this was a quite tormenting 10-15 minutes or so for Everton when we really struggled to get on the ball or out of our half of the pitch as Manchester United pressed for the goal.

Howard made some good saves and our defence held firm resolutely to keep Manchester United out but the key moment, perhaps even the turning point in the game, was when Evra’s header was saved from point-blank range by Howard. It popped into the air for Welbeck who looked for all the world like he was going to score but his header came back off the crossbar and was cleared by Everton. Quite the let-off.

Deulofeu replaced Barkley on 69 minutes to assist our plan, which by this point was to hit Manchester United on the counter-attack as they pushed bodies forward. It’s fair to say the plan worked. I assumed it would have been Pienaar who was to make way for the Barcelona protégé though Barkley was the man removed — and not a bad choice it was either as he wasn’t at his most effective; this allowed Mirallas to roam infield to support his compatriot Lukaku.

Everton were amidst enforcing quite a spell of pressure thanks in part to the substitution. Mirallas had cracked the outside of the post with a free kick but the pressure continued, eventually culminating in Jagielka slipping the ball in to Lukaku who had little-to-nothing on for him. The best he could really do was swivel, drive at goal and hope for the best. This was enough. His drive at goal dragged so loosely it bobbled across to our favourite Costa Rican Bryan Oviedo who finished expertly to give Everton the lead.

Forgetting where I was momentarily, I stood up to celebrate and waved my fist in the air. In horror, and for my protection, Robin grabbed me though I quickly got my senses and threw my fist at the pitch to feign annoyance. That fooled them! I sat back down trying not to look smug and looked on in complete envy at the Everton supporters going wild. With just four minutes left on the clock, Everton lead at Old Trafford.

Ordinarily you would still expect the four minutes (plus the additional four minutes) to yield pressure and chances for Manchester United in this time... but Everton held firm to good effect — actually countered well a few times, and kept possession. Manchester United were very un-Manchester United like in their response. I was even horrified slightly at seeing Giggs lunge in on McCarthy in frustration and seeing them not pressure the ball to try and win it back as we saw the game out.

The game ebbed away from Manchester United and the chants of “Moyesie, what’s the score”, “Oh David Moyes is full of shit” and “You’re getting sacked in the morning” must have stung our ex-boss. I just wished I was amongst the Everton fans. It looked (and sounded) absolutely amazing.

Challenging times for David Moyes then but what a time for Everton and what a remarkable season we are having. Our first win at Old Trafford since 1992, the only team with only one defeat to our name and we sit 5th in the league, just three points from 2nd position.

So far, this is miles beyond my wildest expectations… role on the Emirates for more entertainment. This season is a lot of fun.

Player Ratings:

Howard: Made some good saves and tried to counter to good effect with some good throws. A pretty flawless performance really. 8

Oviedo: I remember him playing Stevenage earlier this season and he was awful, but credit to him, he’s waited for his chance for over a season now and has performed brilliantly. Two goals in two games and two clean sheets. He did very well against Januzaj and was solid defensively. A very impressive performance which makes you think we may just be able to cope without Baines after all. My Man of the Match. 9

Distin: The usual. Solid and dependable. 7

Jagielka: Could easily have gotten Man of the Match also. Held the defence together when we were under pressure in the second half and made several good clearances and interceptions. Skippered the team superbly and had a hand in the goal. 9

Coleman: Not at his most influential in attacking areas but did fine defensively. 6

Barry: Excellent. A very disciplined and professional display by the ex-Man City player. Kept possession well and was always in with the tackle. 8

McCarthy: Very good. Works extremely hard and generally used the ball well. 8

Pienaar: Very busy. Always looking for the ball and involved. Gave it away a few times but showed good experience and was always in the game. 7

Mirallas: Dipped in and out at times in the second half but was quite busy throughout. Perhaps did a bit better when he was moved in field to accommodate Deulofeu. 7

Barkley: Consistently drove forward. Probably had a better first half than second one. Manchester United did their best to give him as little time on the ball as possible and force him away from goal. Not at his menacing best but not bad at all either. 6

Lukaku: Was always a handful. Not at his 100% best but did give Vidic a tougher game than he’s used to I think. Claims an assist for his goal also. 7

Deulofeu (for Barkley): Was involved quickly, dribbling at goal and shooting straight at De Gea. He has to learn when to pass rather than shoot at times but he did have an impact and gave them something else to worry about. 6

Osman (for Pienaar): Also got involved quickly and was busy. Played one astonishingly good ball to Deulofeu. I think Osman is always a handy substitute to bring on as he seems to adapt to games quite quickly. Will play many more games for Everton yet, I think. 7

Naismith (for Mirallas): Not on long, can’t judge.

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Wayne Smyth
680 Posted 05/12/2013 at 08:32:30
Wouldn't agree with a few of those assessments.

We rode our luck at times and had howard to thank for a number of absolute quality saves to keep us in it. 9 easily for him and could we'll be vying for MoTM

I thought Distin was poor and Jags made mistakes also which could've cost us. Distin in particular looked nervy and appears the more uncomfortable with the new style of play.

Don't recall coleman doing much wrong. Seemed to get forward well and worked hard too.

Both the lads in the centre of the park were immense. Barry and McCarthy ran the show for us and worked their bollocks off. 9 for each and either could be MotM.

Deulofeu I thought did well too. Was unlucky with his chance just after he came on. When one of your players grabs the ball near the halfway line, dribbles it so fast the opposition can't keep up and forces the keeper into a good save, it seems a bit petty to complain he doesn't score or pass. That judgement will come with time, but for now I'm glad we have a player who is capable of that kind of football.

Great result. Could've gone either way, but loved the mentality we showed and loved Moyes face afterwards.

Michael Brien
683 Posted 05/12/2013 at 08:53:57
Wayne : as the saying goes - " Fortune favours the brave". No wins at Anfield, Old Trafford, The Emirates and Stamford Bridge in the Moyes era. That's no wins in 44 games - we went into most of those games with an inferiority complex thanks to the " Moyes Mentality". I am not saying that we will win at all those grounds this season - but at least we can be more confident that we will give it a go.
Steve Pugh
714 Posted 05/12/2013 at 10:47:19
After the last few games can people finally stop with the "Howard costs us x points" comments. He has been brilliant recently and has saved us loads of points.
Robin Cannon
859 Posted 05/12/2013 at 18:13:55
@Steve (714) - Agree. We've actually got the most clean sheets in the Premier League so far, and given that our defence actually doesn't always look stunningly secure, a lot of credit for that should go to Tim.
Roman Sidey
944 Posted 05/12/2013 at 22:29:03
Love that you refer to Barry as "ex-Man City". I think he'll sign as soon as he can and be with us for two-three more seasons, his body depending.

One thing I realised as I was reading about Deulefeu is that had he scored or passed to another player to score when he was in from Rom's pass, we very well may not have won the game. That was at 68 minutes, and a 1-0 lead against United at home usually doesn't last 22+ minutes, regardless of what shithouse is managing them.

Tim Jones
988 Posted 06/12/2013 at 03:05:45
Steve Pugh (#714) — Most clean sheets so far in the Prem... so much for the 'Wiganesque' defending that many of Roberto's detractors, and Moyes lovers, directed at him. So what are the other teams doing then? Wigan PLUS defending.

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