Late headers by Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez rescued Manchester United as the champions fought back from 2-1 down to clinch a dramatic win over Stoke.

Peter Crouch put Stoke ahead when Jonny Evans' clearance hit him and flew in.

Robin van Persie levelled from close range but Marko Arnautovic's curling free-kick restored Stoke's lead.

I'll take any kind of win - Moyes

United were facing a second home defeat of the season but with 12 minutes left Rooney nodded home a corner and moments later Hernandez grabbed the winner.

Relief was the over-riding emotion around Old Trafford at the final whistle following a game in which David Moyes' side laboured for long periods but finished with a flourish to end Stoke's resistance and give their manager a badly needed win.

It was the sort of fightback that was a trademark of Moyes' predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson, who was watching from the stands.

But, in truth, United still appeared a shadow of the side they were under their old boss and Stoke could have been out of sight by half-time.

With only four goals from their first eight games, the Potters were the lowest scorers in the top-flight before kick-off but their manager, former United striker Mark Hughes, still described his old side as "vulnerable" this week.

United unbeaten when Van Persie scores

Manchester United's victory over Stoke was the 25th Premier League game in which Robin van Persie has scored. United have won 20 of those matches and drawn the other five.

He was proved right after just four minutes. Erik Pieters broke clear down the left and, although home keeper David De Gea kept out Crouch's first-time shot with an instinctive stop, the ball flew into the United net after Evans smashed it against the Stoke striker.

United's response saw them dominate possession but their threat was restricted by a lack of width or imagination in their passing.

Stoke, in contrast, looked dangerous whenever they broke forward. Crouch went close to making it 2-0 when he hooked a close-range volley over the bar and Steven N'Zonzi saw his snap-shot effort brilliantly kept out by De Gea.

At the other end, Potters keeper Asmir Begovic was only forced into action on the half-hour mark when he tipped over Rooney's 25-yard shot.

Stoke deserved win, not defeat - Hughes

United's equaliser came out of nothing after 43 minutes when Begovic kept out Rooney's header but could not react in time to stop Van Persie following up.

Nevertheless, Stoke still deservedly went in ahead at half-time after Phil Jones needlessly barged into Arnautovic on the edge of the area. The Austrian got up to guide a superb free-kick into the top corner for his first Premier League goal.

The home fans expected a response after the interval but they did not get it until Adnan Januzaj was introduced just before the hour mark.

Until then, United had been pedestrian in their passing and had barely threatened Begovic's goal. Afterwards, they began to advance down the flanks and deliver dangerous crosses.

With the pressure building, Rooney met Van Persie's corner with a looping near-post header that dropped into the opposite corner of the net.

Van Persie 'more than fine' with Moyes

And Hernandez, who like Januzaj had started the game on the bench, got the winner two minutes later, timing his run perfectly to convert Patrice Evra's precise cross from the left.

Manchester United boss David Moyes said:

"I thought with 15 to 20 minutes to go the supporters were terrific - they drove the team on and they played a big part in getting the result.

"I thought in the end we had to go for it. I thought we did a lot of good things but an awful lot of really poor things that put us in the situation we were in.

"We got ourselves back in the game just before half-time only to concede from a poor, poor free-kick.

"That got us going in at half-time on a downer but I said at half-time your job is to win the game and you're more than capable of doing it. We needed the substitutes today and they made a big difference."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes:

"I do think it was unjust, in terms of what we produced, the effort we put in and the chances we created.

"I certainly felt in the first half we could have been three or 4-1 to the good in terms of chances created. I didn't think United created much apart from the key moments that took the game away from us.

"We're really disappointed given the level of performance we produced. We had a game plan today which needed commitment, it needed people to be brave and do the hard yards that affected the game, and that's what we did.

"I thought my players were excellent, they took the game to United and really shook them."

Lineup, Bookings (8) & Substitutions (6)

Manchester United

  • 01 de Gea
  • 12 Smalling (Antonio Valencia - 76' Booked )
  • 03 Evra
  • 23 Cleverley (Hernández - 68' Booked )
  • 04 Jones
  • 06 Evans
  • 17 Nani (Januzaj - 58' )
  • 16 Carrick
  • 20 van Persie
  • 10 Rooney
  • 26 Kagawa

Substitutes

  • 02 Rafael
  • 13 Lindegaard
  • 14 Hernández
  • 18 Young
  • 25 Antonio Valencia
  • 31 Fellaini
  • 44 Januzaj

Stoke City

  • 01 Begovic
  • 20 Cameron
  • 03 Pieters
  • 15 N'Zonzi
  • 17 Shawcross Booked
  • 04 Huth Booked
  • 19 Walters
  • 08 Palacios Booked (Whelan - 70' )
  • 25 Crouch Booked
  • 32 Ireland Booked (Adam - 82' )
  • 10 Arnautovic (Wilson - 49' Booked )

Substitutes

  • 06 Whelan
  • 09 Jones
  • 12 Wilson
  • 16 Adam
  • 24 Assaidi
  • 28 Wilkinson
  • 29 Sørensen
Ref: Lee Mason
Att: 75,274

Match Stats

Shots

19 10

On target

5 5

Corners

12 2

Fouls

8 18

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Manchester United 3, Stoke City 2.

90:00 +5:17 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Stoke City 2.

90:00 +4:51 Booking

Booking Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card.

89:55

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:55

Foul by Charlie Adam (Stoke City).

89:14

David De Gea (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:14

Foul by Jonathan Walters (Stoke City).

88:52

Foul by Michael Carrick (Manchester United).

88:52

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

88:16

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

88:16

Foul by Steven N'Zonzi (Stoke City).

87:38

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

87:38

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

87:11

Attempt missed. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Robin van Persie following a corner.

86:40

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

86:38

Attempt blocked. Michael Carrick (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Patrice Evra.

85:59

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

84:31

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

84:31

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

83:30 Booking

Booking Robert Huth (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

83:16

Javier Hernández (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

83:16

Foul by Robert Huth (Stoke City).

81:28

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Phil Jones.

81:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stoke City. Charlie Adam replaces Stephen Ireland.

79:34 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester United 3, Stoke City 2. Javier Hernández (Manchester United) header from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Patrice Evra with a cross.

77:33 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester United 2, Stoke City 2. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Robin van Persie with a cross following a corner.

77:15

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marc Wilson.

76:54

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

76:54

Foul by Marc Wilson (Stoke City).

75:30 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Antonio Valencia replaces Chris Smalling.

74:58

Attempt missed. Javier Hernández (Manchester United) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the left.

73:27

Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:27

Foul by Stephen Ireland (Stoke City).

72:37

Foul by Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United).

72:37

Stephen Ireland (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

72:29

Attempt blocked. Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Wayne Rooney.

69:52

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

69:52

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

69:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stoke City. Glenn Whelan replaces Wilson Palacios.

68:26

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

68:14 Booking

Booking Javier Hernández (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

68:08

Delay in match Robert Huth (Stoke City) because of an injury.

67:42

Foul by Javier Hernández (Manchester United).

67:42

Robert Huth (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Javier Hernández replaces Tom Cleverley.

66:52 Booking

Booking Marc Wilson (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

66:25

Phil Jones (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

66:25

Foul by Marc Wilson (Stoke City).

66:12

Attempt blocked. Michael Carrick (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Shinji Kagawa.

65:47

Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

65:47

Foul by Wilson Palacios (Stoke City).

64:53

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Robert Huth.

64:03 Booking

Booking Wilson Palacios (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

63:58

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

63:58

Foul by Wilson Palacios (Stoke City).

63:10

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Robert Huth.

62:08 Booking

Booking Stephen Ireland (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

61:53

Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

61:53

Foul by Stephen Ireland (Stoke City).

60:37

Foul by Chris Smalling (Manchester United).

60:37

Steven N'Zonzi (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:33 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Manchester United. Adnan Januzaj replaces Nani.

56:22

Attempt blocked. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

55:13

Tom Cleverley (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

55:13

Foul by Wilson Palacios (Stoke City).

53:09

Foul by Chris Smalling (Manchester United).

53:09

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:12

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

51:10

Attempt blocked. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Patrice Evra with a cross.

48:37 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Stoke City. Marc Wilson replaces Marko Arnautovic because of an injury.

48:32

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

48:05

Delay in match Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) because of an injury.

45:00

Second Half begins Manchester United 1, Stoke City 2.

45:00 +3:00 Booking

Booking Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.

45:00 +2:42 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Manchester United 1, Stoke City 2.

45:00 +1:19

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

45:00 +0:54

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

45:00 +0:54

Foul by Steven N'Zonzi (Stoke City).

44:14 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester United 1, Stoke City 2. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.

43:24

Foul by Phil Jones (Manchester United).

43:24

Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

43:21

Attempt blocked. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

43:07

Foul by Patrice Evra (Manchester United).

43:07

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

42:30 Booking

Booking Peter Crouch (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card.

42:09 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester United 1, Stoke City 1. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

42:08

Attempt saved. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Nani with a cross.

40:22

Nani (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

40:22

Foul by Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City).

39:15

Attempt missed. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high.

38:01

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Robert Huth.

36:50

Chris Smalling (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:50

Foul by Robert Huth (Stoke City).

36:45

Attempt blocked. Robert Huth (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic with a cross.

36:15

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Phil Jones.

35:01

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

35:01

Foul by Stephen Ireland (Stoke City).

33:32

Foul by Patrice Evra (Manchester United).

33:32

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

32:55

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Jonathan Walters.

31:52

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

31:49

Attempt saved. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Michael Carrick.

31:19

Attempt saved. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jonathan Walters with a cross.

29:27

Attempt missed. Nani (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Phil Jones.

28:17

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Marko Arnautovic.

27:29

Attempt missed. Nani (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Wayne Rooney.

26:32

Attempt blocked. Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

26:29

Attempt saved. Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Peter Crouch.

24:43

Offside, Manchester United. Tom Cleverley tries a through ball, but Shinji Kagawa is caught offside.

22:42

Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Tom Cleverley.

20:34

Attempt missed. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Patrice Evra.

16:59

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Robert Huth.

13:43

Attempt missed. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Jonathan Walters with a headed pass.

12:53

Offside, Manchester United. Wayne Rooney tries a through ball, but Robin van Persie is caught offside.

7:23

Attempt missed. Nani (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

7:00

Attempt blocked. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Nani.

3:13 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Manchester United 0, Stoke City 1. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner.

3:11

Attempt saved. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Erik Pieters with a cross.

2:03

Attempt missed. Nani (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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