Manchester United moved level on points at the top of the Premier League after penalties just before and after the break earned them a 2-0 win over Stoke at Old Trafford.
Paul Scholes again proved his worth after coming out of retirement to help United through their injury crisis with another imperious display as Sir Alex Ferguson was without 11 first team players and had to give a league debut to 21-year-old third-choice keeper Ben Amos.
Despite both goals from the penalty spot United deserved the three points and whilst Stoke will complain there was no argument over the validity of the penalty awards.
Javier Hernandez started the scoring after Jermaine Pennant brought down Park Ji-Sung. The Mexican easily sent keeper Thomas Sorensen the wrong way.
Eight minutes after the restart it was Dimitar Berbatov who did the honours from 12 yards, this time after Jonathan Walters fouled Antonio Valencia.
Stoke had not won at Old Trafford in 36 years and a lack of a cutting edge meant they were unlikely to improve on that record.
United did enough without being at their best and lie second on goal difference at the summit of the Premiership behind local rivals Manchester City.
Venue: Old Trafford
Man Utd scorers: Hernandez pen 38, Berbatov (pen) 53
TRIBAL ASKS: Are Man Utd building up a head of steam at the right time to pressurise Man City?
Yellow cards: Walters (STO), Wilkinson (STO), Scholes (MANU)