NEWCASTLE UNITED 0, MANCHESTER UNITED 1
Ashley Young’s first goal in over a year sealed a late victory for lucky Manchester United after they toiled for almost 90 minutes without reward at St James’ Park.
Young’s last goal came during David Moyes’ short-lived reign at Old Trafford in a 2-0 win at Old Trafford against Cardiff City on January 28th 2014 but United were sweating on the result until almost the end of normal time as their rivals for Champions league qualification all notched up wins around them.
The game was marred by an unsavoury incident between Reds defender Jonny Evans and Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse who squared up to one another during a sterile first half and televisions replays appeared to show the two players spitting at each other.
Whatever happens in the aftermath of this game, it can’t be ignored that out-of-form United winger Angel Di Maria looked out of confidence until the second half of the game and Radamel Falcao wasn’t even asked to join the fray from his seat on the United bench despite Newcastle offering an increasingly tired defence of their lines towards the end of the game.
Di Maria was eventually withdrawn in favour of Adnan Januzaj, another out-of-favour United player, but not before setting two two great chances for Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney which were harshly ruled offside.
Rooney put the ball into the back of the Newcastle net on 58 minutes only to be denied by what seemed on a second viewing like an erroneous offside flag.
Newcastle were buoyed by the second half return of defender Jonas Gutierrez after testicular cancer but United were encouraged by the creation of chances by Young before he took the initiative with two minutes to go.
Young, who has been one of the few United players to be in good form recently, had already had a string of second half chances saved by Newcastle ‘keeper Tim Krul, pounced on a poor late attempt to clear the ball by the the Dutch ‘keeper in the area with less than two minutes to go which fell kindly for him.
The resurgent winger didn’t need asking twice as he picked his spot into the bottom left corner and United completed their smash and grab raid.