Premier League: Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 3
By Football News
Manchester United came from behind on three occasions to earn a vital 4-3 win against Newcastle in a Boxing Day classic at Old Trafford.
James Perch gave the visitors a shock early lead, but Sir Alex Ferguson's side were level against the run of play through Johnny Evans midway through the first half.
Evans then put the ball in his own in net in a goal surrounded by controversy, before Patrice Evra got United on level terms shortly after the break.
Papiss Cisse put the visitors ahead for the third time in the second half, just moments before Robin van Persie found another equaliser for the hosts.
Javier Hernandez spurned a number of chances but dramatically gave United the win right at the death.
Newcastle looked up for it early on and found themselves ahead inside four minutes.
Michael Carrick's mis-control in midfield allowed Demba Ba to fire a speculative shot at David De Gea, and the United shot-stopper could only push the striker's effort into the path of Perch, who tapped home his first ever Premier League goal.
Fabricio Coloccini nearly doubled the lead after 20 minutes when he tested De Gea with a header.
The equaliser, against the run of play, came when Evans bundled the ball in from six yards after Tim Krul had originally done well to keep out Hernandez from close range.
United were only level for a matter of moments as Alan Pardew's side regained the lead in the 29th minute with a controversial goal.
Danny Simpson had his shot deflected into goal by Evans but it was disallowed for offside, with Cisse judged to have been in an active position.
However, referee Mike Dean reversed the decision after consulting with the linesman.
It could have been even worse for United going into half-time as Sylvain Marveaux rattled the crossbar just before the break with a superbly struck left-footed free kick.
Newcastle were also on top at the beginning of the second period but were again pegged back in the 58th minute as Evra drove home United's first shot of the half.
Krul could perhaps have done better as the defender's shot crept past him from the edge of the area.
The visitors again took the lead, this time via an emphatic finish from Cisse after fine work on the left flank from Gabriel Obertan.
Amazingly, United were straight back in it two minutes later, Van Persie drawing a good save from Krul before turning in the ball at the second time of asking.
It was all United for the last quarter of the game as they desperately piled forward in search of a winner.
Van Persie and Hernandez spurned numerous chances, with the latter coming closest with a header off the post.
In a frantic final few minutes both sides could have snatched all three points. Sammy Ameobi did brilliantly after coming on to hold the ball up and beat De Gea with a controlled low effort, but saw his shot come back of the foot of the post.
Hernandez once again wasted a golden chance with a close-range header hit directly at Krul.
But the diminutive forward was not to be denied for much longer, Carrick's excellently chipped finding him in the box before the Mexican slid home United's winner in injury time.