Rooney (right) scored from open play for the first time since March
By Saj Chowdhury
Javier Hernandez came on to score the winner for below-par leaders Manchester United at the expense of West Brom, who missed a second-half penalty.
He headed in Wayne Rooney's corner in the second half after Rooney had scored his first goal in open play since March 2010, also with a header.
James Morrison levelled for the Baggies with a stunning strike from 20 yards.
Peter Odemwingie then missed from the spot after defender Rio Ferdinand had brought down Jerome Thomas.
It was an awful scuffed effort which - had it gone in - would have been just reward for West Brom, who were the far superior team at The Hawthorns.
It is not often that United's midfield are overwhelmed but, after the early goal, the quartet of Darren Fletcher, Anderson, Michael Carrick and Gabriel Obertan were chasing striped shirts for much of the match.
There seemed to be little communication with the backline while they were often runners-up in the battle to win the second ball.
But the criticism should be balanced with the tremendous spirit shown by Roberto di Matteo's side.
Former Middlesbrough player Morrison was one of the stars of the show and his fantastic strike after Rooney's opener, was the ignition for what was to follow.
Phelan admits Man Utd were 'lucky'
Another player who shone at a murky Hawthorns was Scottish international Graham Dorrans, given great freedom to roam by United.
He was involved in the most contentious moment of the match when his run into the penalty area was checked by United veteran Gary Neville.
The full-back was the last man and appeared to clip the legs of Dorrans as he was about to shoot.
However, referee Chris Foy waved play on, much to the bemusement of the Baggies players and Di Matteo, who continued the debate with official Mike Halsey on the sidelines.
Chris Brunt completed the impressive trinity of Baggies midfielders. Like Dorrans, the ex-Sheffield Wednesday was also given far too much space to exploit.
Win at West Brom a 'big result' - Ferdinand
Seconds after the penalty appeal, Brunt curled a brilliant effort from 20 yards over the bar and after the break both he, with another left-foot strike, and Dorrans, who fired into the side netting, went close to adding a second.
West Brom had started the second 45 minutes as they played most of the first.
Paul Scharner was next to be left exasperated, when he headed Brunt's left-wing corner two yards wide after he was left alone on the edge of the six-yard area.
Their pressure should have paid dividends midway through the half when Foy, this time, pointed to the spot after Ferdinand clipped the ankle of the tricky Thomas.
Neville should have been shown red - Di Matteo
However, Nigeria international Odemwingie fluffed his lines by pushing the ball past the right-hand upright.
And as is the football cliche, they were punished for the miss a few minutes later.
Midfielder Darron Gibson and striker Hernandez came on for Obertan and Dimitar Berbatov respectively and Hernandez turned the match when he was left unmarked in the six-yard area to nod in Rooney's corner.
West Brom pressed again and were unlucky not to equalise when Nemanja Vidic cut out Thomas's low goal-bound shot from 12 yards.
United withstood the late pressure and clung on for their 11th league win while Rooney was also left clinging on, bravely playing until the end despite suffering an ankle injury during the closing stages.
90:00+5:31 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+4:56 The ball is sent over by James Morrison, clearance by Nemanja Vidic. Effort from outside the box by James Morrison goes wide
right of the target.
90:00+3:31 Foul by Chris Brunt on Rio Ferdinand, free kick awarded. Tomasz Kuszczak takes the direct free kick.
90:00+3:31 Substitution Youssouf Mulumbu leaves the field to be replaced by Marc-Antoine Fortune.
90:00+1:08 Foul by Nemanja Vidic on Somen Tchoyi, free kick awarded. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Chris Brunt from right
90:00+1:08 Booking Nemanja Vidic goes into the referee's book.
90:00+0:43 The ball is crossed by James Morrison.
87:56 Chris Brunt concedes a free kick for a foul on Wayne Rooney. Michael Carrick takes the free kick.
87:56 Booking Chris Brunt shown a yellow card.
87:12 Centre by Peter Odemwingie.
87:07 Centre by Chris Brunt.
86:38 Corner taken by Chris Brunt played to the near post, clearance by Darren Fletcher.
83:37 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jerome Thomas by Fabio Da Silva. Free kick crossed by Chris Brunt, Rio Ferdinand
makes a clearance.
83:37 Booking Fabio Da Silva booked.
82:52 The ball is crossed by Jerome Thomas.
82:26 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Paul Scharner by Javier Hernandez. Direct free kick taken by Scott Carson.
82:26 Booking Javier Hernandez shown a yellow card.
81:09 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Javier Hernandez by James Morrison. Direct free kick taken by Patrice Evra.
80:20 Long distance shot from Chris Brunt misses to the left of the goal.
79:52 Curled right-footed shot by Jerome Thomas. Rio Ferdinand gets a block in.
78:58 Javier Hernandez challenges Marek Cech unfairly and gives away a free kick. Marek Cech restarts play with the free kick.
78:39 Graham Dorrans produces a cross, save made by Tomasz Kuszczak.
78:30 Jerome Thomas sends in a cross, Darren Fletcher makes a clearance.
77:04 Peter Odemwingie concedes a free kick for a foul on Nemanja Vidic. Direct free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.
76:23 Wayne Rooney produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.
74:38 Short corner taken by Oliveira Anderson, The ball is sent over by Fabio Da Silva, Graham Dorrans gets a block in. Corner taken
left-footed by Oliveira Anderson from the right by-line, James Morrison makes a clearance. Michael Carrick takes a shot. Save
by Scott Carson. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Wayne Rooney from the left by-line to the near post, assist on the
goal came from Wayne Rooney.
74:38 GOAL - Javier Hernandez:West Brom 1 - 2 Man Utd Javier Hernandez scores a headed goal from close range. West Brom 1-2 Man Utd.
72:18 Javier Hernandez challenges Somen Tchoyi unfairly and gives away a free kick. Scott Carson restarts play with the free kick.
72:01 Nemanja Vidic concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Brunt. Chris Brunt restarts play with the free kick.
70:43 Substitution Fabio Da Silva comes on in place of Gary Neville.
70:32 Substitution Somen Tchoyi is brought on as a substitute for Ibanez Pablo.
70:27 Handball decision goes against Darron Gibson. Free kick taken by Scott Carson.
66:37 Jerome Thomas challenges Wayne Rooney unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Wayne
Rooney, clearance made by Chris Brunt.
64:00 Foul by Gary Neville on Chris Brunt, free kick awarded. Marek Cech restarts play with the free kick.
63:32 Substitution Gianni Zuiverloon on for Steven Reid.
61:25 Penalty missed wide left by Peter Odemwingie.
61:25 Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on Jerome Thomas by Rio Ferdinand.
59:53 Substitution Javier Hernandez replaces Dimitar Berbatov.
59:53 Substitution Gabriel Obertan goes off and Darron Gibson comes on.
58:33 A cross is delivered by Wayne Rooney, Scott Carson makes a save.
57:49 The ball is sent over by Marek Cech.
56:34 Free kick awarded for a foul by Dimitar Berbatov on Steven Reid. Free kick taken by Scott Carson.
55:03 Foul by Oliveira Anderson on Youssouf Mulumbu, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Steven Reid.
53:41 Dimitar Berbatov is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Scott Carson restarts play with the free kick.
52:04 Shot by Graham Dorrans from 20 yards. Nemanja Vidic gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken by Chris Brunt from the left
by-line played to the near post, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Paul Scharner misses to the left of the goal.
50:43 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steven Reid by Darren Fletcher. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Chris
Brunt from right channel.
49:22 The ball is swung over by Wayne Rooney, Ibanez Pablo makes a clearance.
46:45 Chris Brunt produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the target.
45:20 Peter Odemwingie is ruled offside. Nemanja Vidic takes the free kick.
45:01 The second half has started.
45:00+2:27 The ref blows to end the first period.
45:00+0:51 Nemanja Vidic is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Chris
Brunt. Outswinging corner taken by Chris Brunt from the left by-line played to the near post.
45:00+0:13 Shot by Graham Dorrans from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
42:52 Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Ibanez Pablo gets a block in. Corner from the left by-line taken by Gabriel Obertan, Ibanez Pablo
manages to make a clearance.
41:31 Gary Neville crosses the ball, Ibanez Pablo manages to make a clearance.
39:45 Rio Ferdinand fouled by Chris Brunt, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Rio Ferdinand.
38:22 Peter Odemwingie produces a right-footed shot from outside the box and misses left.
36:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by Dimitar Berbatov on Jerome Thomas. Paul Scharner takes the free kick.
36:53 Dimitar Berbatov delivers the ball, Ibanez Pablo manages to make a clearance.
36:01 A cross is delivered by Chris Brunt.
33:40 Free kick awarded for a foul by Gabriel Obertan on Graham Dorrans. Graham Dorrans restarts play with the free kick.
29:17 The official flags Wayne Rooney offside. Scott Carson takes the direct free kick.
25:45 Chris Brunt takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.
23:42 Darren Fletcher crosses the ball, Ibanez Pablo makes a clearance.
22:51 The assistant referee flags for offside against Dimitar Berbatov. Paul Scharner restarts play with the free kick.
22:26 Jerome Thomas takes a shot. Tomasz Kuszczak makes a save.
19:44 Patrice Evra crosses the ball.
18:49 Effort from outside the penalty area by James Morrison goes wide left of the goal.
16:26 Effort from outside the penalty box by Marek Cech goes wide left of the goal.
14:59 Unfair challenge on Oliveira Anderson by Chris Brunt results in a free kick. Rio Ferdinand restarts play with the free kick.
13:30 GOAL - James Morrison:West Brom 1 - 1 Man Utd James Morrison grabs a goal from just outside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. West Brom 1-1 Man Utd.
11:09 The ball is delivered by Darren Fletcher.
9:10 James Morrison challenges Wayne Rooney unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Michael Carrick.
8:00 Corner taken by Chris Brunt, clearance by Nemanja Vidic. The ball is swung over by Chris Brunt.
7:17 Shot by Chris Brunt. Rio Ferdinand gets a block in. Shot by Youssouf Mulumbu. Blocked by Nemanja Vidic.
6:14 The ball is sent over by Graham Dorrans.
4:43 Corner taken by Gabriel Obertan from the left by-line, clearance by Marek Cech.
2:04 Patrice Evra provided the assist for the goal.
2:04 GOAL - Wayne Rooney:West Brom 0 - 1 Man Utd Wayne Rooney finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close in. West Brom 0-1 Man Utd.
Correction - 1:52 Paul Scharner is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Michael Carrick takes the free kick.
1:52 The referee gives a free kick against Paul Scharner for handball. Michael Carrick restarts play with the free kick.
0:20 James Morrison takes a shot. Save by Tomasz Kuszczak.
0:00 The game gets underway.
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