Wayne Rooney's historic day was spoiled as he was sent off in Manchester United's 2-1 win over West Ham United in the Barclays Premier League.
The Old Trafford captain became the third highest goalscorer in Barclays Premier League history when he broke the deadlock in the fifth minute of the match, but his red card just before the hour for kicking Stewart Downing put his team under pressure. Rooney's early strike moved him on to 176 goals in the top flight and he overtook Thierry Henry, with only Alan Shearer (260) and Andy Cole (187) ahead of him.
Robin van Persie extended the hosts' lead after 22 minutes but it was halved before the break as Diafra Sakho took advantage of poor defending from Manchester United at a corner.
Rooney's dismissal enabled the visitors to push forward in the final 30 minutes, and they had a goal disallowed late on when substitute Kevin Nolan was offside, but Manchester United were able to hold on to claim a second win under Louis van Gaal.
With injuries ravaging his squad, the Dutchman was forced into two changes in defence, with Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw coming in for their debuts in place of the injured Jonny Evans and the suspended Tyler Blackett. West Ham also made two alterations from their 3-1 win over Liverpool, as Morgan Amalfitano and Diego Poyet were handed their first starts, but the visitors were not given time to settle and Rooney opened the scoring after five minutes.
Rafael da Silva was allowed to race clear on the right and, with no defender closing him down, the full-back found his captain, who applied a first-time finish to beat Adrian from 12 yards.
Midway through the half, after Enner Valencia and James Tomkins had wasted good chances for an equaliser, the visitors found themselves two goals behind. When Alex Song was caught in possession inside his own half, the loose ball dropped to Falcao. He found Van Persie and the Dutchman rifled the ball into the bottom far corner.
Despite their two-goal cushion, the hosts came under pressure late in the half and West Ham were rewarded with Sakho's third Barclays Premier League goal of the season in the 37th minute.
David de Gea, making his 100th league appearance for United, failed to claim a right-wing corner and although Valencia’s header hit the crossbar, Sakho was on hand to head home the rebound.
Sakho had a chance to double his tally nine minutes after the break as a deep cross from the left found him at the back post, but his volley was pushed away by De Gea.
As the hour approached, the match was turned on its head as Rooney allowed his frustration to get the better of him. Downing looked to mount a counter-attack from a poor Manchester United free-kick but the midfielder was stopped when Rooney kicked, an act that resulted in referee Lee Mason issuing a straight red card.
Wave after wave of West Ham attacks followed, and the visitors thought they had rescued a point when substitute Nolan met Carl Jenkinson's cross to convert from close range with two minutes remaining, but they were denied by the assistant referee's flag.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal: “I think we have played very good in the first half, very attacking, attractive football. We conceded a goal from a corner, which is a pity because we were playing very good. I said at half-time I was pleased.
“Then you get our set-play, the break from West Ham and the red card for Wayne and that changed everything. The referee could give a red card. I think he [Rooney] did it too unfriendly, because you can do it in a more friendly way. I call that a professional fault.
“We have the problem we don’t have the height of the West Ham United players and they were playing the long ball, so it is very difficult to hold this result, but I am very happy we have done that.”
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce: "We gifted Manchester United two goals when we shouldn't have done. If you gift that quality of player a chance, as we did on both occasions, then they will punish you.
"We've created more chances than them, but we haven't taken those chances. We leave Old Trafford extremely frustrated, having played well, but that means absolutely nothing to me because we didn't get anything from the game.
"Sakho is looking great, isn't he? He could have had a hat-trick and he has scored again. He had a volley on the far post which was beautifully saved by De Gea and a header on the far post which he could have done better with.
"Him and the other lads have had enough chances. A couple have just gone the wrong side of the post and stuff like that, but when we finally broke the then men down the goal was disallowed. We know how hard it is to break ten men down because we won with ten men ourselves twice last season.
"We just didn't do well enough in the first 25-30 minutes, but we got back to 2-1 and we had chances to get a point. Once we scored, we found our feet and the team responded well after a miserable start. They showed what they are made of, so from that point of view I was really pleased with how we stuck at it."
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