Man United 3 vs Newcastle 1
Man United: Rashford (30), James (57), Fernandes (75 pen).
As the Reds returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a worthy 3-1 victory at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s second half power play broke down a dogged Newcastle United side.
After frustrating draws in our last two league matches against West Bromwich Albion and Everton, United finally came out well in an assignment that was arguably tougher than anticipated against a Newcastle side that was not exactly high on trust coming to Manchester, considering the intimidating shadow of a relegation scrap hanging over them.
For this return to his former home, our one-time captain and defensive hero Steve Bruce had his side galvanised. After half an hour, Marcus Rashford broke the deadlock with an excellent individual goal, but with a leveller from Allan Saint-Maximin, the Geordies hit back.
The second half largely belonged to United with Daniel James following up his late goal in the Europa League 4-0 win against Real Sociedad on Thursday to put us ahead 2-1 after 57 minutes.
Joe Willock then fouled Rashford in the box and Bruno Fernandes put away his 17th United penalty, beating Karl Darlow in the 75th minute from the goal.
It was an unusually shaky start against a Newcastle side by United who are seriously flirting with the relegation zone. The visitors were as vibrant as their luminous yellow kit, and the Reds seemed to be quite unhinged by Steve Bruce’s men’s approach.
Magpies striker Joelinton lobbed in a high cross after four minutes that David De Gea punched away as it fell from the glare of the floodlights and the night sky. On the clearance, Newcastle picked up and finally Jonjo Shelvey smashed a shot over. After De Gea’s poor pass put the Reds in danger, the one-time Liverpool midfielder then blazed over again.
The low shot by Daniel James, easily collected by Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow, was the closest United came to turning the tide until Almiron reacted with De Gea’s own long-distance effort.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka also had a blast, but it took something a little more subtle and spectacular. After 30 minutes, it came from Rashford. As Victor Lindelof picked him out and he audaciously nutmegged Newcastle right-back Issac Krafth, our number ten was hugging the left touchline. The defender managed to get back into line, but at his nearest post, Rashford simply came into his opponent and drilled a thunderous shot past Darlow.
The setback didn’t crush Newcastle, however, and Saint-Maximin hit a drive that the busy De Gea held out superbly. But the let-off was brief and Saint-Maximin fired in a strong equaliser in the 36th minute in his next duel with our number one Spaniard.
Soon after – Bruno and Fred were clearly upset with Isaac Hayden – Tempers flared momentarily. It was Fred who had a smashing drive from distance when the playing action resumed, which was well covered by Darlow.
Man United vs Newcastle Second Half Update
In the second half, Newcastle goal scorer and danger man Saint-Maximin was fastest out of the attacking blocks as the Frenchman forced De Gea after 50 minutes into another save.
The Reds, however, finally came alive with the cool Nemanja Matic setting up a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute. Newcastle’s defense was tricked by our Serbian midfielder when, instead of prodding a pass down the left flank, he turned inside instead and misfooted the rearguard before feeding a ball to the right where James scored his fifth of the season as he emphatically swept a low shot past Darlow.
United were buzzing and the Newcastle goalie, three minutes after the Reds’ second goal, had to pull off an outstanding save to deny Martial scoring with a powerful strike. In the 69th minute, the Frenchman made way for Mason Greenwood as Solskjaer made his first change of the match.
In the move that led to the final strike of the game, Matic and Rashford combined, with the latter being brought down by Willock inside the field. Fernandes stepped up to tuck the penalty home and the Reds eventually had breathing room in the game with 15 minutes left.
The excellent stream of late second-half deliveries from Luke Shaw with corners from both sides of the pitch set up a host of opportunities for United. However, when Matic and Harry Maguire, twice, just couldn’t head the set piece opportunities home for a fourth, the left back couldn’t quite get an assist.
There was a lovely moment for Shola Shoretire, with United finally cruising now, as the Newcastle-born 17-year-old made his senior Reds debut as he replaced Rashford. Substitute fellow Juan Mata gave him words of congratulations, as he did for James, who had enjoyed another good night as well.