London: Javier Hernandez headed in the winner in the 84th minute Saturday to give Manchester United a 1-0 win over Everton and keep a firm grasp of the Premier League lead.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard had frustrated United with a string of good saves before Antonio Valencia's deflected cross found the Mexican striker by the far post. Hernandez rose high to power in his header and keep United on course for a record 19th league title by securing a 13th straight league home victory.
The team is nine points in front of Chelsea and Arsenal ahead of their matches this weekend.
Howard had previously denied Hernandez with three outstanding saves, while Everton was upset not to have been awarded a penalty at the start of the second half after Rio Ferdinand appeared to have pushed Victor Anichebe.
United controlled play in the first half, and it was only Howard's saves that prevented the hosts from going ahead. The American goalkeeper first turned away Hernandez's shot from an acute angle in the 25th minute and then diving to keep out the forward's first-time shot from a cross by Wayne Rooney in the 31st.
Hernandez then ended up saving Howard from allowing an opener in the 38th when he inadvertently blocked Nani's low drive which was headed for the corner of the net.
Everton manager David Moyes made two substitutions at halftime to give his team a spark, with Tim Cahill and striker Victor Anichebe coming in for the ineffective Jermaine Beckford and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
The changes seemed to have an immediate impact as Anichebe went sprawling after a nudge by Ferdinand inside the United area but referee Peter Walton waved away Everton's appeals for a penalty. Jack Rodwell was denied when his deflected shot was tipped away by a diving Edwin van der Sar in the 69th, which proved to be Everton's last good chance before Hernandez netted his 19th goal of the season.