Owen Hargreaves finally made his Manchester United debut as the Premier League champions enjoyed a comfortable 3-1 win over League Two side Peterborough.
The England international has been struggling to shake off an ankle injury since his £18million move from Bayern Munich but, although he returned to action at London Road, he is unlikely to play any part in tomorrow's Community Shield clash with Chelsea at Wembley.
Instead the Canadian-born midfielder is certain to step up his rehabilitation programme in one of the midweek pre-season friendlies against either Glentoran or Dunfermline before United begin their defence of the Barclays Premier League title against Reading.
Hargreaves played 45 minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute and looked back to his best in his traditional holding role in midfield.
He was the only first-team player of note in a youthful United side that proved too strong for Peterborough.
Adam Eckersley gave Sir Alex Ferguson's side the lead against the team managed by his son, Darren Ferguson, in the 23rd minute when the left-back fired a powerful shot beyond Posh goalkeeper Shwan Jalal.
The home side had their moments but failed to take their chances with Chris Whelpdale forcing United's Tom Heaton into a fine save when he met a cross from Jamie Day at the far post in the ninth minute.
United should have taken a two-goal interval lead moments before the break but Ryan Shawcross headed against the crossbar from close range.
Darren Ferguson had pitted his skills against his father's side as a player but this was the first occasion the pair had faced each other as managers.
Ferguson junior looked to have pulled off a masterstroke when Rene Howe, a half-time substitute, levelled matters with a fine shot four minutes after the restart.
But United were always the stronger and they made their fitness tell later in the second half with goals from Richie Jones in the 72nd minute and a third from Fangzhuo Dong 10 minutes later.
It was hardly a testing workout for United's kids and the game had no bearing on tomorrow's Wembley showdown with Chelsea but at least Ferguson senior can still claim the upper hand.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was happy to see the return of England international Owen Hargreaves after his youngsters beat son Darren's League Two side Peterborough at London Road.
Ferguson told MUTV: 'It was good to see Owen back. He would have played the first half if we had not been delayed but I put him on in the second half so he could warm-up first.'
Hargreaves said: 'I am looking forward to playing 60 minutes in Scotland on Wednesday. I hope to be ready for the first game of the season against Reading.'
Posh goalscorer Howe revealed that while Sir Alex had got one over on son Darren, Ferguson junior would not let any of the players swap shirts.
Howe had managed to swap shirts with Hargreaves but the Peterborough coach took it off him and returned it to United.
Howe said: 'I had my hands on it but the gaffer told me the shirt had to go back.'