Manchester United snatched a 1-0 victory over West Ham with a stoppage time Marcus Rashford winner on Saturday afternoon.
A blistering, boiling opening ten minutes rapidly fizzled out as the first half settled into a sterile pattern. The hosts enjoyed lengthy spells of possession but almost exclusively spent tamely rolling it between one another in front of West Ham's compact 4-4-2 block.
When either side vaguely attempted a pass laced with any incision - and far simpler ones as well - the ball invariably failed to reach its intended target.
Cristiano Ronaldo's appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears as Kurt Zouma's risky hooked leg went unpunished. With both sides as toothless as the other, the first half ended without a shot on target.
Fred rectified that return shortly after the interval but snatched at an effort inside the penalty area which Alphonse Areola comfortably beat away.
While United bolstered their shot count with efforts from range, both teams desperately struggled to lay a telling blow on their opponent, as the game tentatively creaked open.
Ralf Rangnick tossed on three strikers as the hosts pushed for a goal that looked scarcely like arriving. Yet, all three played their role in the winner as Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani combined to tee up Rashford at the back post.
The win takes United above West Ham and into the top four as both sides continue to chase Champions League qualification.
Manchester United player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
David de Gea (GK) - 6/10 - A rare afternoon without much to do.
Diogo Dalot (RB) - 5/10 - Ever eager to bomb forward, Dalot struggled to keep a cool head when advanced up the pitch.
Raphael Varane (CB) - 5/10 - Bouncing off Michail Antonio without breaking the forward's stride, Varane was one of several players who tried (and failed) to pick out the Hollywood pass.
Harry Maguire (CB) - 6/10 - Always on the edge of mistiming his tackles, a lack of anticipation forced Maguire into these interventions.
Alex Telles (LB) - 5/10 - Caused a number of issues by Jarrod Bowen when running towards his own goal.
Fred (CM) - 6/10 - Wholeheartedly embracing the added freedom of his tweaked role.
Scott McTominay (CM) - 7/10 - The anchoring figure sweeping behind his buzzing midfield colleagues with plenty of assurance.
Bruno Fernandes (CM) - 7/10 - Desperate to feel the ball on the leather of his boots whether United had possession or not, Fernandes was perhaps even more eager to snuff out West Ham's attacks rather than start his own.
Mason Greenwood (RW) - 5/10 - Dawdled in possession as he characteristically looked for a shot during the open opening stages of the contest.
Cristiano Ronaldo (ST) - 5/10 - Drifting very deep at times, Ronaldo was a peripheral figure when Manchester United rarely had the ball in the box.
Anthony Elanga (LW) - 6/10 - Particularly dogged off the ball, Elanga couldn't control the one flickering sight of goal he briefly had before being replaced.
Marcus Rashford (RW) - 7/10 - Delivered the telling blow with a rare touch after his arrival.
Edinson Cavani (ST) - 7/10 - Provided the perfectly weighted assist for the last gasp winner.
Anthony Martial (LW) - 7/10 - After a mixed reception to his introduction, left the crowd in jubilation with his involvement in the goal.
West Ham player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Alphonse Areola (GK) - 6/10 - A late addition to the starting XI avoided a blunder with the ball trapped under his boots in his own box.
Vladimir Coufal (RB) - 5/10 - Rarely joined West Ham's sporadic attacks.
Craig Dawson (CB) - 4/10 - Skittish in possession from the off, Dawson created more danger for West Ham than that which he snuffed out.
Kurt Zouma (CB) - 5/10 - Showed plenty of rust in his first outing of the year.
Aaron Cresswell (LB) - 5/10 - Tasked with providing all the width on West Ham's left hand side but rarely got into a position to pose a threat with his delivery in open play or otherwise.
Declan Rice (CM) - 8/10 - As commanding as ever, Rice and Hammers alike will have particularly enjoyed an exchange that left Ronaldo dumped on the Old Trafford turf and West Ham in possession.
Tomas Soucek (CM) - 5/10 - Rushed on the ball, Soucek let much of the game drift by him.
Manuel Lanzini (AM) - 5/10 - Skirting around the fringes of the contest, the number ten proved more useful at blocking Manchester United's passing lanes.
Jarrod Bowen (RW) - 6/10 - Grew into a contest that - an opening 600 seconds aside - was very much a slow burn.
Michail Antonio (ST) - 5/10 - Held the ball up with very mixed success.
Pablo Fornals (LW) - 4/10 - Offered little impact when drifting infield from his flank.
Ryan Fredericks (RB) - 5/10
Source : 90min