Saturday 26 November 2011 3pm
Manchester United 1
Newcastle United 1 (Ba 63 pen)
“We were heroes today, I thought the referee was slightly favourable to Man. United today…..he then gives us a penalty which probably wasn’t.
I have to pay tribute to my players they were outstanding today” Alan Pardew
A great result and credit to everybody on and off the pitch today.
Yes Manchester United finished the match having had a fair few chances but as always in football the bare facts don’t always tell the whole truth.
The first half saw Newcastle more than match that other United and referee Jones had already set the scene by giving any decision to the home team. We more than matched them for possession in that first forty five and just as at their rival across Manchester we soaked up pressure and hit them on the break.
Hatem Ben Arfa created the odd moment of magic but it was the returning (in more ways than one) Obertan who was United’s best player in that opening half. He gave Evra a hard time and if only we’d got one or two more players in the box it could have paid dividends, even though you understood the reticence from Pardew to commit too many men forward.
A more than satisfactory first half was followed by a flurry of decisions again going against the visitors and that came to a pinnacle with a soft free-kick on the edge of the box against Steven Taylor.
Rooney hit the wall but put the rebound back into the mix where a Steven Taylor clearance hit Hernandez who knew nothing about it.
One down and as often happens we had to see out five or so minutes of constant pressure where they looked to run away with it. Newcastle though are made of sterner stuff these days and benefitting from the luck that deserted at City we stayed in the match.
Then as some fans were calling for Ben Arfa to be replaced he showed why he is on the pitch, a mazy run was ended with a scything challenge by Ferdinand, which no doubt will see the home fans bizarrely claiming it was a corner.
Justice had been done although it had taken the linesman to give the penalty, the fact Ferdinand had played the ball made it oh so sweeter, with Demba Ba capping a sweaty performance with a cool finish.
The last half hour saw an open game which I would say does Alan Pardew credit as it wasn’t a case of going all out for the point, this ended with Jonas giving the referee the opportunity to send him off for a second yellow, though later Fabio should have gone as well.
After the sending off we led a charmed life as a combination of Krul and lady luck kept them out, though a special reference for Danny Simpson who made one outstanding clearance.
The final jewel in the crown was Hernandez putting the ball into the net with the second last touch of the match, only to be justifiably flagged for offside.
A game of one referee and two linesmen and a visiting team who don’t know when they are beat.
(If you’d followed our top tip of a draw at 4-1 with betting partner BET365 you’d have been quids in!)
Manchester United: Davide de Gea, Fabio da Silva (Chris Smalling 90), Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic (c), Patrice Evra (Federico Macheda 88), Nani, Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez.
Subs not used: Anders Lindergaard, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans Darron Gibson, Ji-Sung Park, Antonio Valencia.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 64), Yohan Cabaye, Danny Guthrie (James Perch 74), Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa (Peter Lovenkrands 80), Demba Ba.
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Davide Santon, Dan Gosling, Shola Ameobi.
Referee: Michael Jones