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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence