London, Jan 1: Manchester United moved three points clear at the top of the English Premier League, for a few hours at least, after they clinched a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion Saturday.
Wayne Rooney put United ahead inside three minutes with his first goal from open play since March but James Morrison volleyed West Brom level soon with a stunning 25-yard strike.
West Brom should have gone ahead after Jerome Thomas was fouled in the area but Peter Odemwingie scuffed his penalty wide of the post.
And Javier Hernandez then made West Brom pay with the winner 15 minutes from time to leave United three points better off than neighbours Manchester City, who play Blackpool later Saturday.
United were lucky to gain all three points against a West Brom side that showed the more invention at times and who fought back from the sucker punch of going an early goal down.
Patrice Evra was given too much time to cross the ball from the left and Rooney made no mistake with his header to put United ahead.
West Brom refused to roll over, though and when the ball broke back to Morrison 25 yards from goal, he thundered it home with a brilliant volley.
The home side thought they should have had a penalty when Gary Neville looked to have fouled Graeme Dorrans but they did get one in the second half, only for Odemwingie to fluff his lines.
With 15 minutes left, Rooney sent in a corner and an unmarked Hernandez headed home the winner, though Nemanja Vidic did well to block a goalbound effort late on. –(DPA)