Ferguson incensed by spot of ill fortune

Manchester United 1 Newcastle United 1: United fume at 'shocking' penalty decision as Newcastle's 10 men hang on

Old Trafford

As the dust settled, or was washed away by the Lancashire rain, the most salient fact from a wild afternoon was that against 10 men – Jonas Gutierrez was sent off with 15 minutes left – Manchester United had squandered the opportunity to make up significant ground on their neighbours City, who play at Liverpool this afternoon.

The gap will be a daunting seven points if City succeed, United having been denied a fourth straight 1-0 victory by a dreadful penalty decision that allowed Demba Ba to equalise Javier Hernandez's fortunate opening goal. As Hernandez then had a tap-in disallowed for a marginal offside in the fourth minute of added time, the home majority in Old Trafford's largest crowd of the season slouched home feeling deeply hard done by.

Sir Alex Ferguson was naturally among them. "I don't think anyone in the ground thought it was a penalty, apart from the assistant referee," he said. "The referee gave a corner and he was nearer to it.

"Why can't he overrule it when he is only eight yards away? It was an absolute travesty. The problem is the assistants are not full-time even if the referees are. Whether he ever gets a game again, the assistant referee, is not for me to decide, but it was an absolutely shocking decision. It costs you. Two years ago, when the linesman gave the offside goal against Chelsea it cost us the League, so hopefully we're not saying that at the end of May."

United's players, who could be in trouble for surrounding the officials at the time, channelled their own fury into a more impressive half-an-hour than they had earlier managed and forced Newcastle back for the rest of the game, but without tangible reward.

Well beaten by City last week, Newcastle can hardly have been looking forward to visiting Old Trafford, where they have now failed to win in 28 games dating back to 1972. Yesterday was different, however, as their manager, Alan Pardew, agreed. "Manchester City beat us with a bit to spare," he agreed. "But the performance today was outstanding. We were heroes at the end because when you get a guy sent off you've all got to pitch in."

He praised his "Geordie heroes", the Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul having become an adopted one this season and joining the defiant captain, Steven Taylor, in holding the fort as United dominated following the penalty. Before that, there was enough to suggest that if Newcastle are unlikely to sit as high as third place again this season, they can find a comfortable berth in the top half of the table and challenge to bring European football back to St James', or whatever we are now supposed to call it.

Krul needed to make only one save, from Ryan Giggs's flick, before a quiet game burst into life early in the second half. Hernandez having been fouled 20 yards out, Wayne Rooney hit the free-kick, which rebounded back to him for a second effort; this one bounced off Steven Taylor on to Hernandez and into the net. Well might the devout Mexican have said his little prayer of thanks. Devout or not, he must have been tempted to utter a curse when the assistant referee convinced Mike Jones to award a penalty for Rio Ferdinand's fair tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa. Ba calmly slotted his kick past David De Gea.

The pace had become relentless, the incident constant, and all of it took place in Newcastle's half. In the 78th minute Gutierrez, already shown one yellow card, lunged in on Nani and received another. From the free-kick, Nemanja Vidic's header demanded a superb save from Krul, who then turned away a drive from the outside of Evra's foot. Hernandez set up Ashley Young to shoot against a post, and following a short corner the former United full-back Danny Simpson saved acrobatically on the line from Hernandez.

On came Federico Macheda, a striker for a defender, and his first touch was a header just over the bar. Into added time, the heroic Steven Taylor blocked Young's effort, and then Michael Carrick's touch left Hernandez a fraction offside as he appeared to have scored one of United's famous late winners. Not this time. City will begin to feel that fate is for once clad in sky blue.

Manchester United (4-4-2): De Gea; Fabio (Smalling, 90), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra (Macheda, 88); Nani, Carrick,Giggs, Young; Rooney, Hernandez.

Newcastle (4-4-1-1): Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, R Taylor; Obertan (Ameobi, 65), Guthrie (Perch, 74), Cabaye, Gutierrez; Ben Arfa (Lovenkrands, 80); Ba.

Referee Michael Jones.

Man of the match Krul (Newcastle).

Match rating 8/10.

Fergie fears for his young ones

Sir Alex Ferguson says he doesn't want his promising youngsters playing for Great Britain at next year's Olympics if they have already appeared at Euro 2012.

Great Britain play their opening game at Old Trafford on 26 July, less than four weeks after the end of the European Championship.

The United manager says he "wouldn't like to see our young players who might be involved in Euro 2012 then selected for the Olympics".

However, he sees no problem with the 37-year-old Ryan Giggs, who has missed out on major tournaments, taking part in the Games if the Welshman wants to.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific