|Manager Sir Alex Ferguson enjoys the late win at Old Trafford [GALLO/GETTY]
Javier Hernandez struck six minutes from time to help Manchester United close in on a record 19th English Premier League title at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Extending their lead to nine points at the top, United looked as if they were heading towards another draw as they struggled to break down an Everton side who went into the game unbeaten in seven league games.
United were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at Newcastle midweek and with only four games left every point is vital. Thanks to this result, United are on course to secure the title if they win their next two matches against Arsenal and Chelsea.
"We just kept going," United boss Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports.
"We played some really good football, we had some good openings and could have had the game won by halftime.
"But in time-honoured Manchester United fashion we don't do that. We went to the very end and kept everyone on the edge of their seat but we get there.
"We kept going against a very good Everton team. I think we can be very pleased today."
Ferguson had one eye on next week's Champions League semifinal in Germany as Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic sat out the game ahead of first leg clash at Schalke on Tuesday.
Everton settled in quickly despite the absence of key players Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta from the starting line-up.
Leon Osman tested Edwin van der Sar in the eighth minute, but it was Van der Sar's opposite number who was responsible for Everton going in goalless at half time.
The United States international Tim Howard produced two fine saves to deny Hernandez in the space of six minutes.
Hernandez looked certain to score from an acute angle before the Everton stopper turned the ball behind in the 25th minute.
Howard again frustrated the United forward by keeping out his first time shot after the move of the game involving Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney.
Hernandez went from being his side's most dangerous attacking threat to becoming Everton's 38th minute saviour.
After Valencia had got the better of left-back Leighton Baines, the United winger teed up Nani, whose low drive was heading for the corner of the net before it was deflected wide by Hernandez.
In the second half, Cahill, who has been struggling with injury, was introduced along with striker Victor Anichebe in place of 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,
But after Sylvain Distin almost put through his own net, United took a huge stride towards claiming another Premier League crown double when Hernandez leaped high to head home an Antonio Valencia cross and cap an excellent individual display with his 19th goal of the season in all competitions
United have 73 points with four games to play.