Two goals enough to secure fifth successive home win...
UNITED 2 (McCormack 15, 77), WIGAN 0.
United: Kenny, Lees, Zaliukas, Pearce, Peltier, Pugh, Mowatt, Austin, Murphy, McCormack, Smith. Subs. Cairns, Warnock, Byram, Brown, Tonge, Varney, Poleon.
Wigan: Carson, McCann, Watson, McArthur, Boyce, Powell (McManaman 67), Ramis, Beausejour (McClean 55), Perch, Barnett, Keane (Grant 55). Subs. Shotton, Nicholls, Gomez, Espinoza.
Referee: G Scott.
Booked: Pearce, Murphy (Leeds), McClean (Wigan).
United manager Brian McDermott made one change to his side that travelled to Blackburn four days earlier with Matt Smith coming in for Luke Varney for the visit of the FA Cup holders.
United striker Ross McCormack and defender Tom Lees made the starting line-up after recovering from knocks sustained at Ewood Park last Saturday.
On a cold December evening it was United who started the better side. United were linking together well and pressured Wigan’s midfield into hitting long balls.
It was United who had the first real opportunity of the game, when Luke Murphy struck from just outside the box but his shot was straight at Scott Carson.
A second chance well United’s way around the 10 minute mark when Jason Pearce rose well at the back post. The defender could only turn Alex Mowatt wide of the post.
United weren’t to be denied for much longer though, when the first goal of the game arrived on 15 minutes. Mowatt hit a sweet corner that was knocked down by Pearce for McCormack to pass the ball across the line.
The opening goal appeared to give United confidence and the home side began to knock the ball superbly.
Midway through the half Pearce unleashed Danny Pugh down the left hand side with a great through ball. The defender’s cross was cut out but the resulting corner almost brought the second goal of the game. Murphy’s corner was met by Smith but his downward header was intercepted before it could reach McCormack, who was free at the back post.
The away side created their first chance of the evening just before the half hour through a break forward from James McArthur. Once the midfielder got to the edge of the box he struck but Lees blocked his effort. The rebound landed in the path of Will Keane but United keeper Paddy Kenny made a brave save to prevent the on loan Manchester United player.
Kenny once again came to United’s rescue just moments later when his point blank save thwarted the same player.
Following Keane’s two chances United regained the upper hand as the half drew to a close. United’s wide players and McCormack crossed some nice balls into the box but were all just inches away from their intended target.
With just minutes of the half remaining Mowatt latched onto a loose ball and struck from distance just his strike went inches wide.
The away side had a chance of their own before the half was up when Emmerson Boyce got on the end of a corner but his downward header went over Kenny’s crossbar.
United began the second half as they did in the first with the better of the play. Marius Zaliukas and Lees both saw shots blocked and also McCormack also saw a shot go just wide.
With just over 20 minutes of the game remaining Smith rose well in the box to get on the end of a Pugh cross, but the forward didn't make the connection he would have liked and his header didn't trouble Carson.
Just minutes later Smith had a great chance to double United's advantage. The big striker pounced on a mistake by Ivan Ramis and he was through on goal with only the keeper to beat. The striker had options either side of him but he went alone and was denied by the legs of Carson.
But United did double their advantage on 77 minutes following a McCormack free-kick from the left hand side. The striker whipped a ball across the box and Pearce appeared to get the faintest of touches, but the goal was credited to McCormack as the ball bounced into the top corner.
United's second goal of the evening knocked the stuffing out of the away side who passed the ball around without threatening the Kenny's goal. As the game went into three minutes of injury time United's two goals proved to be enough to secure the three points.