The evening started badly for the Red Devils even before the match had begun when their team bus came under attack on the way to the stadium. An event that could have shook the players confidence even before they had entered the ground. However, no excuses can be made for the way they squandered the lead after Martial's double had put their noses in front.
This was the first of two important matches for the Red Devils in their season finale that would determine if their quest for a top-four finish would indeed materialise after another fairly disappointing season.
The target was clear win the last two games and they would secure a Champions League place at the expense of Man City. There could have been no greater incentive.
The match was delayed for forty-five minutes to allow Man United more time to prepare for the game as their team bus was late arriving at the ground due to the mass of home fans outside the stadium. Fans decided it would be fun to pelt the United bus with various objects including beer bottles and probably jellied eels as it was the East End.
Once the match got under way it became abundantly clear that not only did United have to overcome the opposition but also the partisan home crowd if they were to come away with the victory.
Martial didn't seem to be hampered by injury as he burst into the box in the opening minutes and was unlucky not to be awarded a corner.
It was not the start United wanted when the Hammers took the lead in the tenth minute following a cross from the left that found Sakho unmarked in the box and his effort was deflected by Blind past the despairing dive of De Gea to give the home fans more to shout about.
This was proving to be a match that would truly test the characters of the United players as they were in a cauldron of hate pouring down from he stands.
West Ham had a perfect opportunity to double their lead when Carroll was played clean through but with only De Gea to beat he placed his shot too close to the keeper who managed to get a block in and save Smalling's embarrassment as it was the defender who lost the run of Carroll.
The ball was in the United net again in the twenty-first minute but thankfully for United, the goal was disallowed as it had already crossed the line for a corner.
On one such attack Valencia and Martial linked well on the right and when the cross was played over Mata was adjudged to have fouled a defender as he headed goalward.
After a rare mistake from Martial, who slipped while in possession, Payet was gifted a golden chance but he totally miscued his shot and it curled harmlessly wide.
At the other end, Rashford tried to get on the end of a pacey Rooney cross but the youngster seemed to mess up his jump and the chance was gone.
There was a late shout for a penalty after Martial was nudged as he sped into the penalty area. However, Mike Dean immediately waved away the claims from the United players.
Half-time and behind to only a single goal meant that in the second half United still had to hope they could overturn the score. The biggest problem in the first half was that United weren't allowed to settle and when they did have the ball they didn't seem to know what to do with it.
The most creative player for United had been Rooney, who in his deeper role tried to pick out the runs of his forwards and was unlucky on a couple of occasions that his passes hadn't been as pinpoint as usual.
United got the second half underway looking for a vastly improved second forty-five minutes compared to the first. Van Gaal made his first change at the start of the half when he replaced Schneiderlin with West Ham old boy Carrick.
Superb play by Mata to create a chance out of a long punt by his keeper. Bet the home fans wished they hadn't delayed play by not returning the ball.
Unfortunately, Martial followed up his strike with the first booking of the match.
United were looking more dangerous in attack as Rashford tried a cheeky backheel across the six-yard area that Herrera was unlucky not to get on the end of.
As the match entered the last twenty minutes tackles flew in left right and centre and there were two cautions in quick succession for Carroll and Valencia.
Then in the 72nd minute, that man Anthony Martial scored his second of the game and 17th of the season to put United into a 2-1 lead.
After the jubilation of the equaliser, West Ham pressed United back and then turned the game on its head with two soft goals both headed in from close range by Antonio and Reid that stemmed from a couple of set pieces delivered by Payet and poorly defended by the United back four.
The last fifteen minutes were played out against a crescendo of noise generated by the home fans around the ground. They must have been loving the fact that they had got one over United.
Game over and United headed back up north licking their wounds knowing that they had blown a great chance to come away with a win but instead fell to their tenth defeat in the league.
From the start West Ham went for the throat fired up by the occasion with the backing of their fans behind them and United seemed to take an age to settle especially at the back. Everybody knows what a danger Payet poses at dead ball situations so why on earth did the United players continue to concede free-kicks in dangerous areas? Once Martial had provided the lead United imploded in the space of five minutes with a display of inept defending and only have themselves to blame.
Now the advantage has been handed back to Man City who have to win away at Swansea while United host Bournemouth in the final games of the season. The Swans are not a push over so expect a few more twists and turns during the last ninety minutes of the current campaign.
Thanks for reading.