Well Allardyce very nearly came up with the perfect tactics! Give the Mancs the lead inside the first minute, thereby removing all the urgency and passion from their play, keep the game at 1-0 for as long as possible, then steal an equaliser in the final minutes. It so nearly worked!
Of course Man Utd had more of the ball, but that stat apart, we were in this game from the thirty seventh second right through to the end. Nolan could have scored with a clever near post deflection from a corner. Carroll might have scored with a rasping volley. Nolan so nearly connected inside the six yard box. Cole forced a good save from Lindegaard. And Maiga fired narrowly over.
And what did Rooney and co offer in return? Very little. Jussi was stretched a couple of times and there was an ugly goal mouth scramble mid way through the second half, but other than that, we looked pretty composed and comfortable in defence, with Tomkins playing a key role in screening the back four.
And how unlucky were we to concede? It's true that Collins should have been closer to Van Persie but he got in the block, only for the ball to spin cruelly over and away from the committed Jussi. Without Collins' intervention, Jussi would have saved it.
Of course, had that goal not gone in, we might have come under greater pressure as the game unfolded. QPR made the mistake on Saturday of scoring, thereby rousing the dozing beast. We did the reverse, gave them the lead, thereby administering a perfect sedative. Such a shame that we lacked a goal scorer to pinch an equaliser!
However, a one goal reverse was better than expected, and with Southampton and Norwich drawing tonight, QPR and Sunderland sharing the spoils yesterday, and Reading and Wigan losing, we are in a better position than any of us dared hope for going into this round of games.
However Benitez is now under pressure after two goal less games at Chelsea and Torres is long overdue a hatrick so let's not count our chickens yet guys!
Player ratings: Jussi 7, Demel 7, Collins 6, Reid 8, O'Brien 6; Tomkins 7; Diame 5 (how many times did he give the ball away again?), Jarvis 5 (poor crossing all night) Taylor 6, Nolan 7 (led by example except for his stupid booking); Carroll 6 Subs Cole 6, Maiga 6, O'Neil 5