Newcastle United came away with an excellent point tonight, and although they looked the better side in the first half, the Red Devils came back in the second half, but the Magpies were resilient tonight in defense, and cheered on by a capacity crowd, they fully deserved a well earned point.
Like the game of two years ago, this game got off to a roaring start in front of a sold-out capacity crowd at St. James’ Park, with the atmosphere electric and the Newcastle fans roaring on their side.
Newcastle started like the proverbial steam train, as both sides made it clear they would attack each other, and the game got off to an ebb and flow with both sides keen on attacking.
And it was after only 2 minutes that Rooney got free on the left wing and crossed to Hernandez who seemed to only have to tap the ball into the net, but Tim Krul dived brilliantly to his left to make a phenomenal save – a great start by the 23 year old Dutchman – a wonderful save.
And then after 5 minutes Barton was clear on the right, but he was left between shooting and centering, and he did neither and the chance was lost.
Newcastle were attacking the Red Devils like in the days of old with Kevin Keegan, and were roaring forward at every opportunity, but Manchester were dangerous on the break, and Wayne Rooney should really have scored when he was clear through in the inside left channel but shot over the bar.
It was after 19 minutes that Rooney found himself clear in the inside left position, and seemed to hit the ball over the bar but on TV replays showed the ball had hit Tim Krul on the head and gone over, so it was another excellent save from the Dutchman. Two great saves from Tim in the first 20 minutes.
Even though Newcastle were attacking all the time, the Red Devils were dangerous on the beak, and there was a danger Newcastle would get caught short at the back, as they moved forward looking for a goal.
Gutierrez made several excellent runs down the left wing, and seemed to be able to beat John O’Shea for both skill and pace, and Jonas was having a fine game.
As the half came to an end Manchester United were showing more up front, and Hernandez had a decent chance just before the half time whistle blew, with the score still tied at 0-0.
It had been an excellent first half display by the Magpies, who were up for this game, but it would still take Newcastle to give another top 45 minutes performance in the second half to get anything out of this game.
Newcastle had most of the play in the first half, but the better, more clear cut chances still fell to the Red Devils.
In the second half Manchester United came back into the game, although Peter Lovenkrands could have had a penalty early in the second half, when he seemed to be brought down, but referee Probert waved play on – as he would do on several penalty appeals in this game.
And then Rooney had a shot that Tiote seemed to try to protect himself, and the ball hit his arm but again Lee Probert waved play on. That would have been harsh penalty against the Magpies.
And after 69 minutes Ryan Giggs should definitely have scored, but with the goal at his mercy, he missed an excellent opportunity.
Stephen Ireland finally made his debut for Newcastle, and the Geordie fans were pleased to see this lad finally on the pitch after 69 minutes, and within a couple of minutes Stephen had a sneaky shot that just went past Edwin van ver Sar’s right hand post.
Ireland had replaced a hard working Peter Lovenkrands.
Then on 78 minutes Nani went very close with a snap shot that just went wide of Tim Krul’s left hand post, with the Newcastle defense sleeping, and then Nile Ranger was brought on for Shola Ameobi after 73 minutes.
The Red Devils pressed a lot more in the second half but it was an excellent performance from the Newcastle team, and an excellent point that takes the side to 40 points, and back above Villa and into 9th place on goal difference.
Michael Owen was brought on after 80 minutes, and was booed to high heaven by the home fans – with a few showing pound notes to signify he was only on Tyneside for the money.
And Michael would have seen the Newcastle team grind out this result with commitment and passion – which the side didn’t have two years ago.
The referee got a bit sick of Hernandez diving all the time in the penalty area trying to get a penalty – it was all rather pathetic really – and Lee Probert rightly booked him towards the end of the game – and the referees should do this a lot more often with these players who are basically trying to cheat.
While the Red Devils tried to get the winner in the last few minutes the lads held firm, and it was an excellent display from our boys and a great point to move Newcastle back into 9th place on 40 points.
Now we must beat Blackpool on Saturday and we should be safe for the season, which is still very important. Newcastle are 7 points above 3rd bottom Blackpool, and with a much superior goal difference, so a win on Saturday will surely make Newcastle safe.
But tonight the lads did us all proud – well done!!
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