The vociferous 49,025 fans at St James Park were treated to some exciting football by their darling team against a stubborn Manchester United side that were still suffering from their F.A Cup ouster by Manchester City few days back. The game started on a fast pace with both teams probing for early openings.
The best chance of the opening minutes fell at the feet of Mexican striker Javier Hernandez who could not finish a through ball from his strike partner Wayne Rooney. He was later issued a yellow card for diving. There were shouts for penalty by the Red players, but television replay showed Chichirito was trying to circumvent the rules by diving without any apparent contact. The referee Lee Probert was not deceived as he was clearly close to the action and spotted the incident.
It was a game that witnessed few chances on both end of the pitch, but at the 69th minutes of play, veteran winger Ryan Giggs was presented with the best chance of the entire match after he received a beautiful pull-out from Manchester United left back Patrice Evra.
He blasted the ball over the bar with Goalkeeper Tim Krul who was standing in for the injured Steve Haper clearly beaten. Sir Alex Ferguson was left fuming with time running out. If Ryan Giggs had scored that goal, Manchester United would have gone nine goals clear at the top of the Barclay Premier League with the title beckoning gloriously.
Newcastle United Shola Ameobi, Jonas Gutierrez and midfielder Chiek Ismael Tiote all had attempt at goal saved by goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar who stood between the sticks. United were lucky not to concede a goal when debutant Stephen Ireland fired a second-half volley which did not produce the desired result.
Both sides eventually settled for a point each when all attempt to snatch all three points at stake proved futile. It was a game the Newcastle United desperately needed a positive result to stay cement their place in the Premier League, while United would have gotten an 80% assurance of lifting the trophy a record 19th times.
The game witnessed the return of Wayne Rooney who was had served a two-match ban for swearing at the camera after their win against West Ham United two weeks back. It was apparent that the Reds were missing the services of their Bulgarian international Dimitar Berbatov who was not listed by Sir Alex due to illness. They are however favorite to clinch the League trophy based on current form.