Manchester United fights back to beat Hull 3-2
(AP Photo/Jon Super)
HULL, England (AP) Manchester United was gifted a winner by former defender James Chester as the English Premier League champion came from two goals down to beat Hull 3-2 on Thursday.
Ashley Young's cross was inadvertently headed by Chester into his own net in the 66th minute, allowing United to claim a third straight league win.
"We had to dig deep with our fighting spirit and we've done that," United striker Wayne Rooney said. "It was poor defending for the two goals."
Chester, a product of the United academy who made only one first team appearance, scored the opening goal with a fourth-minute volley. United conceded again in the 13th when David Meyler's shot deflected in off United defender Jonny Evans.
But Rooney's free kick was headed in by Chris Smalling in the 19th, and the striker volleyed in the equalizer seven minutes later.
After Chester's own-goal, United was reduced to 10 men in stoppage time. Antonio Valencia received a second booking for time wasting after kicking the ball away.
"We've had some poor results at the start of the season and we have shown some real quality in the last few weeks," Rooney said. "We are having a go."
United, which was eight points behind league leader Arsenal, arrived late at KC Stadium due to traffic problems.
United had to phone in the team sheet, which included Darren Fletcher in the starting lineup for the first time since last December following treatment for a bowel disorder.
It was Hull which made the brighter start, and scored with the first chance of the game.
Tom Huddlestone delivered a corner into the box where Alex Bruce got above Patrice Evra to head toward the far post.
United striker Danny Welbeck was slow to come off the line but Chester was one step ahead, advancing to volley into the roof of the net.
Meyler then drove Hull into the penalty area and stayed up to collect Yannick Sagbo's cutback across the box. Meyler's first connection was wayward but Evans allowed him a second chance with a sloppy clearance that came back to the Irishman.
The resulting shot would not have troubled goalkeeper David de Gea, but Evans again intervened, wrong-footing the Spaniard and turning the ball into his own net.
An apparent groin injury to defender Rafael da Silva gave Moyes a chance to change things, and the manager made a determined move in sending on winger Adnan Januzaj.
He had an almost immediate impact, winning a 19th-minute free kick from which United scored.
Rooney provided the hanging cross from the right and Smalling produced a clinical header that went inside the far post.
As United regained confidence, Rooney netted the goal of the game. He controlled Evans' long ball effortlessly with his back to goal before flicking an overhead pass to Welbeck.
When it came back to Rooney, via a combination of Welbeck and Curtis Davies, the England striker took another deft touch before sending in a fierce 30-yard volley.
Bruce had to reshuffle at the interval, Steve Harper on for McGregor and Robert Koren replacing Meyler. But the hosts once more came out brightly, with Davies glancing a header and Huddlestone denied by a ricochet off Evra.
Updated December 26, 2013