Manchester United landed a dramatic victory on Tyneside thanks to Ashley Young’s 89th-minute winner to crucially maintain a position in the Barclays Premier League top four.
The Reds had plenty of chances to win the game at St James’ Park before Young struck a minute from time, but found Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul, a key member of Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands World Cup squad, in top form. His opposite number David De Gea was also forced into a number of good saves, none more so than an injury-time block from Papiss Cisse, but the collection of three points could prove huge for United on a night when our fellow top four rivals all won.
Louis van Gaal made one change to the side that defeated fellow north-east rivals Sunderland four days earlier with Marouane Fellaini replacing Radamel Falcao, who was named on the bench. Angel Di Maria kept his starting berth despite struggling to find his best form against the Black Cats, and it was the Argentinian who was presented with United’s first opening of the match, inside the first 40 seconds. The ball fell to Wayne Rooney, up front on his own, who found Di Maria on the break but he was unable to capitalise on the chance as the Newcastle defence regrouped to snuff out the danger.
The Reds breathed a sigh of relief on 10 minutes when Chris Smalling’s challenge on Emmanuel Riviere in the area went unpunished. Replays showed the United centre-back got the man rather than the ball.
United looked bright as an attacking force with Fellaini and Herrera offering good support to Rooney and after some good hold-up play by the captain and a lay-off by Marcos Rojo, it was Herrera who flashed an effort just wide on 15 minutes.