Red tops: Rooney strikes as United handed penalty let-off in narrow Fulham triumph
23:54 GMT, 26 March 2012
Wayne Rooney fired Manchester United three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League with his 28th goal of the season — and eighth in the last six League games — as Fulham were narrowly beaten at Old Trafford.
United survived a late penalty shout when Michael Carrick brought down substitute Danny Murphy in the 90th minute.
Controversial: Fulham's Danny Murphy is brought down by Man United's Michael Carrick in the last minute
Replays showed the United
midfielder’s left foot clipped Murphy and Sir Alex Ferguson admitted
referee Michael Oliver might well have given it.
Sky pundit and Old Trafford favourite Gary Neville also said United had ‘got away with one’, while Fulham boss Martin Jol appeared to tell Oliver at the final whistle that Carrick had owned up to the foul.
‘This is not the first time, especially not for me,’ said Jol, who was in charge of Tottenham in January 2005 when Mark Clattenburg and his officials failed to spot United keeper Roy Carroll spill a late Pedro Mendes effort well over his goal-line. Coincidentally, Carrick played for Spurs that night.
Winner: Wayne Rooney scores the only goal of the game (above) before celebrating (below)
Jol said: 'No-one in the stadium could say Danny Murphy dived and everyone in the stadium expected a penalty.
‘I thought it was a difficult decision but always with a penalty then you should send off Carrick, and I think everyone in the stadium expected a penalty.
‘You have to be brave to give a penalty at Manchester United. That is the only disappointment we have got.’
Flashpoint: Carrick appears to send Murphy crashing to the ground in the penalty box
Come on ref! Martin Jol has a word with Michael Oliver about the penalty claim
Ferguson said the let-off was
connected to Oliver’s refusal to give United a penalty in the first half
when Patrice Evra’s cross hit the hand of Fulham defender Stephen
‘Patrice thought it was a stonewall penalty,’ said Ferguson. ‘Maybe the referee was thinking about that when Michael Carrick caught Danny Murphy’s heel. They had a claim, there’s no doubt about it.
‘We dominated the game until the last 15 minutes but we never finished them off.
‘That is what it is going to be like for the rest of the season. Teams are going to fight.’