Manchester United 4 - 3 Newcastle United

Match info: Premier League at Old Trafford

Date: 26/12/2012 KO: 15:00 Ref: M Dean Att: 75,596

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Man Utd

Jonny Evans 25
Javier Hernandez 90
Patrice Evra 58
Robin van Persie 71

4
vs
3

Newcastle

Jonny Evans 28 (og)
James Perch 4
Papiss Cisse 68

FT (ht: 1-2)

  • Last Updated: December 26 2012, 19:32 GMT

Sir Alex Ferguson defended his decision to give referee Mike Dean a half-time blast of his hairdryer before Manchester United sealed another famous comeback win.

Ferguson has a word with Mike Dean
Ferguson has a word with Mike Dean

Javier Hernandez's last-minute winner against Newcastle at Old Trafford gave United a 4-3 triumph from a game when they had trailed three times, and took them seven points clear of Manchester City.

But an incident-packed afternoon had one of its most notable moments as the teams came out for the second-half.

Ferguson first rounded on Dean, then fourth official Neil Swarbrick before finally launching into assistant referee Jake Collin over Newcastle's second, an own-goal from Jonny Evans, which he was convinced should not have been allowed to stand.

"The referee changed the linesman's mind," said Ferguson after Collin had flagged for offside against Papiss Cisse, only to get over-ruled after Evans turned home Danny Simpson's cross.

"He said it was an own goal. But if you see it again, and the referee can't, the guy is in an offside position, then he pulls Evans' arm.

"If that is not interfering what is?

"I think it was a bad decision."

Yet former World Cup official Graham Poll had already taken to Twitter to insist Dean was correct, as Newcastle chief Alan Pardew also felt.

"At the time I thought it was an own goal," Pardew said.

"It doesn't matter who is offside, he could be 20 yards offside if the defender sticks it in.

"I don't know if the striker got a touch before the defender but I don't think so. I can't see a problem with it."

The Premier League also confirmed that "as Cisse did not play the ball, then he was not interfering with play".

They also stated that: "It is also the case that Cisse didn't interfere with the opponent."

It is now down to Dean to decide whether Ferguson overstepped the mark with his protestations, although he did have the option of sending the United boss to the stand, which he declined to do.

There was further controversy in stoppage time too, when Antonio Valencia slid in on Vernon Anita, leaving the Newcastle man needing to be stretchered off with an injured ankle.

"I was a bit upset with that tackle," said Pardew.

"I have seen it again and I don't think it was malicious but Valencia has mistimed it badly and unfortunately it might cost us a player.

"I am not sure what is wrong. It is too early to say.

"It is a bang on the ankle. We will have to see whether he will make Arsenal, which would be a loss to us."

Pardew also confirmed midfielder Jonas Guttierez faces a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury after missing today's game.

"He will be missing the next two or three games," he said.

"Guttierez will have an injection in his knee tomorrow. It is not clearing up and he is not 100%."

And those talking points do not touch on an amazing game.

Three times Newcastle led, through James Perch, Evans and Cisse, only for Evans - becoming the third player this season to score at both ends - Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie, with his 16th goal of the season, to respond.

Further chances came and went in a thrill-a-minute game.

But when Sammy Ameobi struck the inside of a post with a shot Pardew thought was going in, he feared the worst.

"When it went back to the goalkeeper I thought 'mmm, it might not be our day'," said Pardew.

He was right. And it wasn't Manchester City's either as Hernandez struck in the dying seconds to ensure United will be top on New Years' Day no matter what the outcome of matches against West Brom and Wigan.

"I wish it was the last game of the season," said Ferguson.

"It tells you about the courage of our team though.

"We had a lot of bad decisions against us in the first-half.

"That could have demoralised the team. But they didn't give in. That is the great quality they have.

"We were down three times and came back three times, then we scored the winner.

"It is a really significant result for us. It puts us in a good position.

"But as I always say about December, it is a month that tells you everything. Hopefully when we come to January 1, after that game at Wigan, we are still top of the league."


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