Brentford looked set to rise above United in the table with what would have been only their second win of the season, but McTominay, who struggled to hear instructions from coach Erik ten Hag before entering the fray in the 87th minute, dashed their hopes of a rare away victory against the Red Devils.
“It was very loud, the fans were roaring us on so I couldn’t hear fully. He probably said something like, ‘Go on and score,’ which is what I did,” the Scotland international said.
With disgruntled home fans again staging protests against the club’s owners before the game, Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans started in central defence with Victor Lindelöf deployed as a makeshift left wing back due to a slew of injuries.
United’s defensive frailties were exposed in the 26th minute when Casemiro gave the ball away and Lindelof failed to clear, allowing Mathias Jensen to slot the ball under the body of keeper André Onana, who should have saved it comfortably.
United, beaten at home in the last week by Crystal palace and Galatasaray, created several scoring opportunities, many of them from distance, in the second half, but they put precious few on target as the Bees looked set for a well-deserved win.
Onana redeemed himself late on, pulling off two tremendous saves in quick succession by tipping over a shot from Neal Maupay and a header from Christian Norgaard to set the stage for McTominay’s late intervention.
Thrown on for Sofyan Amrabat, McTominay quickly justified the faith of Ten Hag by rattling home the equaliser after a goalmouth scramble in the 93rd minute and he was not done yet.
The towering midfielder netted again with a header in the seventh minute of stoppage time to send the home fans wild and grab all three points for his side who climbed to ninth in the table on 12 points, five ahead of 14th-placed Brentford.
“That might be one of my favourite moments on a football pitch. Two goals at the death was incredible, but I am just happy to be able to contribute and show people that I can do it,” McTominay said.
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