Stuttering United held by Toon

Manchester United opened up a seven-point lead at the Premier League summit despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Newcastle at St James' Park.

Last Updated: 19/04/11 at 22:04 Post Comment

Rooney: Kept quiet at St James' Park

Rooney: Kept quiet at St James' Park

Ryan Giggs squandered the best chance to give the visitors a crucial win when he shot wide with the goal at his mercy after being picked out by Patrice Evra with 69 minutes gone to let two points slip from the leaders' grasp.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men were denied on two occasions before the break by fine saves from the injured Steve Harper's replacement, Tim Krul, but even the return of Wayne Rooney from suspension could not inspire United to victory on a night when the Magpies fought tooth and nail in front of an appreciative crowd of 49,025.

United did, however, extend their lead over second-placed Arsenal, who could only draw at home to Liverpool on Sunday, and it seems only a matter of time before they clinch the crown for the 19th time.

The draw took Newcastle's total for the season to 40-point mark as they climbed back into ninth and edged closer to retaining their top-flight status.

It might have been even better had referee Lee Probert agreed with Peter Lovenkrands that he had been tripped by Anderson inside the penalty area, although Hernandez was similarly aggrieved to be booked for diving as he was challenged by Danny Simpson in injury time.

The days when Newcastle competed with United both on the pitch over 90 minutes and over the season seem a distant memory, and Ferguson's men arrived on Tyneside having not lost a league game to the Magpies in 17 attempts dating back to September 2001.

They did so still smarting from their FA Cup semi-final exit at the hands of arch-rivals City and determined to make amends by extending their lead at the top of the table.

But Alan Pardew had promised that his team, who started the night still not assured of their place in next season's top flight, would give United a game, and in the opening 45 minutes they certainly did that.

The visitors, who did not include Rio Ferdinand or the sick Dimitar Berbatov among their 18 at St James' Park, tested Krul after just two minutes when he was forced to block Hernandez's effort, and the Dutchman was delighted to see full-back Jose Enrique get his body into the line of the Mexican's goal-bound injury-time shot.

But in the meantime, the Magpies gave as good as they got in an entertaining first-half during which they too created chances.

Chris Smalling got enough on Jonas Gutierrez's fifth-minute attempt to deflect it around the post, and Edwin van der Sar had to save from Shola Ameobi, Lovenkrands and Cheik Tiote in quick succession.

Krul made another fine save from Rooney after he burst through on 19 minutes, although Mr Probert clearly did not spot his intervention as he awarded only a goal-kick.

United gradually eased into full flow with the movement of the Rooney and Hernandez and Nani's pace causing problems for Newcastle, who dropped ever deeper as the half wore on.

However, they might have taken the lead a minute before the break when Joey Barton picked out Lovenkrands inside the penalty area with a teasing right-wing cross.

The Dane did not realise how much time he had and may have been surprised that the ball reached him at all, but he planted his header harmlessly wide.

Ferguson's players returned long before their Magpies counterparts and resumed in determined fashion as they forced a series of corners which the home side managed to repel, but often at full stretch.

Krul was grateful to see Giggs head straight at him from Nani's 51st-minute cross, although Ameobi was unable to trouble Van der Sar any further with a looping effort seconds later.

Mike Williamson only just prevented Hernandez from meeting Giggs' 55th-minute cross with a prodigious leap and Nani blazed high and wide seconds later as the pressure mounted.

Lovenkrands was convinced he should have been awarded a 58th-minute penalty for Anderson's challenge on him, but Mr Probert, who had earlier turned down Nani's claims against Gutierrez, was similarly unmoved.

The Dane headed just over after the visitors struggled to clear Barton's 61st-minute free-kick, but United were starting to up the tempo to repeatedly stretch their hosts once again.

They should have been in front with 69 minutes gone when Evra carved his way into the box to set up Giggs, but the veteran midfielder contrived to fire wide.

Nani and Rooney both went close from distance as time ran down and Giggs fired wide again two minutes from time.

But after Hernandez's yellow card, Rooney headed wide from substitute Antonio Valencia's injury-time cross as Newcastle managed to hold out.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

More Match Results

Wednesday, 16 April 2014
19:45
Everton 2-3 C Palace Report
Man City 2-2 Sunderland Report
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Arsenal 3-1 West Ham  
Sunday, 13 April 2014
16:07
Swansea 0-1 Chelsea Report
13:37
Liverpool 3-2 Man City  
Saturday, 12 April 2014
15:07
C Palace 1-0 A Villa Report
Fulham 1-0 Norwich Report
Southampton 0-1 Cardiff  
Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle  
Sunderland 0-1 Everton Report

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Liverpool 34 51 77
2 Chelsea 34 42 75
3 Man City 33 54 71
4 Arsenal 34 18 67
5 Everton 34 21 66
6 Tottenham 34 0 60
7 Man Utd 33 18 57
8 Southampton 34 5 48
9 Newcastle 34 -14 46
10 Stoke City 34 -10 43
11 C Palace 34 -14 40
12 West Ham 34 -9 37
13 Hull City 33 -6 36
14 A Villa 33 -14 34
15 Swansea 34 -5 33
16 West Brom 33 -11 33
17 Norwich 34 -27 32
18 Fulham 34 -40 30
19 Cardiff 34 -34 29
20 Sunderland 33 -25 26

Updated Thu, 17 Apr 2014

Footer 365

Contract news: Tim Howard has been handed an extension to his Everton contract

Tim Howard will be staying with Everton until at least 2018 after agreeing a two-year extension to his contract.

Neymar and Jordi Alba will miss the bulk of the remainder of the season

Barcelona forward Neymar has been ruled out for up to a month due to a left foot injury.

Transfer news: Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino warns off Luke Shaw suitors

Mauricio Pochettino says in-demand defender Luke Shaw will be staying at Southampton.

Mail Box

Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property