Late header gives United 1-0 win over Everton

Javier Hernandez headed in the winner in the 84th minute

Saturday to give Manchester United a 1-0 win over Everton and keep

a firm grasp of the Premier League lead.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard had frustrated United with a

string of good saves before Antonio Valencia’s deflected cross

found the Mexican striker by the far post. Hernandez rose high to

power in his header and keep United on course for a record 19th

league title by securing a 13th straight league home victory.

The team is nine points in front of Chelsea and Arsenal ahead of

their matches this weekend.

”We need to keep our heads down and not get carried away,”

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. ”There’s a winning attitude

about the team and a real determination. You can test people’s

characters with these qualities. They refuse to give in.”

Ferguson reported no fresh injuries ahead of his team’s

Champions League semifinal first leg match against Schalke on

Tuesday.

Howard had previously denied Hernandez with three outstanding

saves, while Everton was upset not to have been awarded a penalty

at the start of the second half after Rio Ferdinand appeared to

have pushed Victor Anichebe.

United controlled play in the first half, and it was only

Howard’s saves that prevented the hosts from going ahead. The

American goalkeeper first turned away Hernandez’s shot from an

acute angle in the 25th minute and then diving to keep out the

forward’s first-time shot from a cross by Wayne Rooney in the

31st.

Hernandez then ended up saving Howard from allowing an opener in

the 38th when he inadvertently blocked Nani’s low drive which was

headed for the corner of the net.

Everton manager David Moyes made two substitutions at halftime

to give his team a spark, with Tim Cahill and striker Victor

Anichebe coming in for the ineffective Jermaine Beckford and

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

The changes seemed to have an immediate impact as Anichebe went

sprawling after a nudge by Ferdinand inside the United area but

referee Peter Walton waved away Everton’s appeals for a penalty.

Jack Rodwell was denied when his deflected shot was tipped away by

a diving Edwin van der Sar in the 69th, which proved to be

Everton’s last good chance before Hernandez netted his 19th goal of

the season.

Hernandez now has 19 goals since signing from Mexican club

Guadalajara in the summer.

”We didn’t expect that so soon,” Ferguson said. ”We thought

it would take a year for him to get properly settled, but he has

adapted to English football very quickly.”