Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar and his defenders made Premier League history as Sir Alex Ferguson's side crushed 10-man West Brom 5-0 at The Hawthorns to move three points clear at the top.
The 38-year-old surpassed Chelsea stopper Petr Cech's 2004-2005 record of 925 minutes without conceding a goal and United also set a new record of 11 successive clean sheets, breaking the Blues' record of four years ago.
First half goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez - after a Scott Carson blunder - effectively killed the game as a meaningful contest.
But Albion were also handicapped by the harsh sending-off of left-back and acting skipper Paul Robinson - the ninth red card of his career - five minutes before the interval for a challenge on United midfielder Ji-Sung Park.
Nemanja Vidic and Cristiano Ronaldo (2) piled on the agony for the under-strength Baggies in the second period to earn the Red Devils a sixth successive league win.
It has increased the pressure on nearest challengers Liverpool ahead of their game with Wigan on Wednesday.
Ryan Giggs had an outstanding game for United with Berbatov and Michael Carrick also impressive.
But Albion remain rooted at the bottom of the table and also saw their goal difference take a battering from Ferguson's side.
United were bolstered by the return of central defender Rio Ferdinand after an 11-game absence with a back problem and Park was also back in the starting line-up after a hamstring setback.
Albion started brightly and Gianni Zuiverloon saw his 20-yard shot cleared off the line by Carrick after Van der Sar had punched clear.
Carson got his body behind a left-footed effort from Park and then reacted sharply to come off his line to block an effort from Berbatov.
Ronaldo looked to the skies in disgust after dragging a drive wide of Carson's goal when well placed after some neat approach work.
United were looking an increasing threat and after 22 minutes Berbatov put them ahead with his fifth goal in the last seven matches and 11th of the season.
The former Tottenham player exchanged passes with Carrick and timed his run to perfection in staying on-side before drilling a low shot through the legs of Carson into the corner of the net.
Albion almost went further behind after Giggs intercepted a square pass from Chris Brunt towards Borja Valero and broke with lightning speed.
He found Ronaldo in acres of space of the left and his low centre was met first time by Tevez whose shot flew only a yard wide.
Gary Neville was then incensed not to be awarded a penalty after being challenged by Brunt but referee Rob Styles waved aside his protests.
Ronaldo should have doubled United's lead after 33 minutes when he put clear after great skill by Giggs but he clipped his shot over Carson and wide.
In a rare Albion raid Zuiverloon should have done better when the ball broke to him 12 yards out but he lofted his volley well wide of the far post.
Albion found themselves reduced to ten men after 40 minutes when Robinson was sent off for a challenge on Park.
It looked a harsh decision with no United players berating Robinson with Gary Neville and Giggs almost looked to be sympathising with the left-back.
Then a minute before the interval a mistake by Carson led to Tevez doubling United's lead.
The England keeper failed to hold onto an inswinging Giggs free-kick and a grateful Tevez smashed the loose ball into the roof of the net.
Albion showed they had not given up hope and Ryan Donk crashed a shot against the post from a narrow angle.
But after an hour Vidic ended any chances of a comeback by grabbing United's third goal.
Giggs floated the ball into the near post and Vidic was first to react with a fierce header which Carson could only help into the roof of the net.
Park was yellow carded for a foul on Cech but again it looked a questionable decision from Styles.
Mowbray made a double change, taking off Zuiverloon and Simpson and replacing them with James Morrison and Roman Bednar.
But United were now rampant and after 65 minutes Ronaldo made it 4-0 with a simple finish after being teed up by Giggs.
Ronaldo completed United's rout eight minutes later but he and Berbatov both looked offside. Donk and Carson were booked for protesting in a match turning into a nightmare for the home side.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes his side have rediscovered
their "ruthless streak'' after demolishing West Brom.
Ferguson said: "We saw a ruthless streak that has maybe not been there this
season. We hoped it was going to come. We expected it to come because of the standard of forwards we have. Tonight
was the first indication that it was there.
"For the first 10 minutes, West Brom did very well and gave us a bit of
defending to do - and we were quite resolute at that stage of the game. But once we got the ball in their half of the field, we always looked
Ferguson was full of praise for the efforts of Van der Sar and his defenders
after rewriting the history books.
He said: "It was a fantastic performance and it is down to the experience we
have gathered together in the back four and, even though we've had to make
changes in the last few weeks, they have applied themselves very well.
"Edwin Van der Sar, who has achieved everything in the game, was as delighted
as when he saved that penalty kick in the Champions League final Moscow. He is over the moon and that tells you his desire. He has still got that
ambitious streak and wants to win all the time.''
Ferguson also thought Albion defender Paul Robinson made a reckless challenge
on Ji-Sung Park which resulted in the ninth red card of his career.
He said: "I thought it was a reckless challenge from where I was sitting but
they tell me from the camera the other side it didn't look as reckless.
"It was a careless challenge when he didn't have to do it. Ji-Sung is on the
ground and the boy has come in late, sliding into him and it is careless and
reckless a bit.''
Baggies boss Tony Mowbray refused to comment on the refereeing performance of
Rob Styles and the Robinson red card.
He said: "What is the point of me talking about the red card. I've got no
opinions on it. The referee gave him a red card, we abide by it, the result
stands and the red card stands and off we go to the next match.
"Did the red card have any effect on the game? You could see the quality they
possess. We did okay for 20-25 minutes and had the best chances early on.
"But when they get flowing and the fluency is there, I don't think many teams
in the world can stop them when they are in that mood of passing and moving the
"I would like to think they might not have scored so many goals without the
sending-off but I don't think it would have adjusted the result.''
"What did I think of the referee? I am not bothered about the referee. I
prefer not to talk about him and let you write about him. Managers get into
trouble for talking about referees.''