Newcastle United 1 v 3 Manchester United

St James Park, Newcastle
14th November 2004

Manchester united finally managed to get their 'winning run' up and running and now have a series of games ahead of them that are both winnable and must-win.

At a ferocious St James Park, it took the Reds just 7 minutes to get their first, leading some to believe that a rout was on the cards. It wasn't , and the goal seemed to be a trigger for the United boys to switch off, most notably Darren Fletcher who had a poor game from then on in. It was only Rooney who could conjure up the magic necessary to succeed.

early in the game Kluivert had been played through only to be thwarted by Carroll, whilst at the other end Ronaldo threatened. It was from a Ronaldo cross that Rooney grabbed his first of two of the afternoon. The ball was whipped in from the right to Rooneys feet, and he finished smartly past Given, who was nowhere.

United should have built on their lead, with both Ronaldo and Rooney having great opportunities to finish the game before even twenty minutes were up - Ronaldo jinked brilliantly round Bernard, beating him twice with body-swerves, before smashing the ball at Given's feet, when a pass to Ruud ould have been the better and surer option.

From that time on Newcastle built attack after attack, with Rio almost being punished for sloppy defending - Shearer could only blast the ball inches wide from a one-on-one situation - and with Kluivert close with a headed opportunity.

The script continued after the break, and it was only when Shearer beat two men, including Brown who was on for the injured Silvestre, and scored low and to Carroll's left that United began to play again.

Rooney chased a lost-cause ball and was able to steal it from O'Brien. He pulled the ball backfrom the six-yard line and crossed it to Ruud. Given got a hand to it only to see it fall to Scholes. His only way to block a possible shot was to take Scholes out, which is what he did. van Nistelrooy converted the penalty with ease.

Newcastle rallied, but with a minute to go Smith headed across the box. Ruud ahd a first bite, and the ball rebounded off Given back into play. Rooney was waiting and slammed ti hoem to at least make the win look convincing!

Newcastle: Given, Carr (O'Brien 18), Bramble, Johnsen, Bernard, Bowyer (Dyer 54), Butt, Jenas, Bellamy, Shearer, Kluivert (Robert 62).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Ameobi.
Booked: Bramble, Johnsen.
Goals: Shearer 71.

Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre (Brown 57), Heinze, Fletcher (Giggs 75), Keane, Scholes, Ronaldo (Smith 83), van Nistelrooy, Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Howard, Saha.
Goals: Rooney 7, van Nistelrooy 74 pen, Rooney 90.

Att: 52,320.

Ref: M Dean (Wirral).