Newcastle hold Man United to draw

Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Sunday, but still regained top spot in the English Premiership.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Manchester United were hoping for a quick return to the top of the table on Sunday as they took on a Newcastle side who had conceded 13 goals in their previous three games against Sir Alex Ferguson's men. But the Magpies have contributed six of their own in that time and had much the better of the first half - French midfielder Laurent Robert going close with a free-kick in the 18th minute. United were certainly off their game and were lucky not to concede a penalty eight minutes later. Gary Neville's backpass was intercepted by Alan Shearer and the former England skipper then crashed to the ground under pressure from Tim Howard. Referee Paul Durkin waved play on, although the replay did indicate that the United goalkeeper was at fault. 12 minutes into the second half, Newcastle had an even better opportunity to open the scoring. From a Robert corner, 20-year-old Jermaine Jenas outjumped the home defence, but his header thudded against the woodwork and bounced back into Howard's hands. United were spurred into action and just past the hour did manage to find the net. This time referee Durkin saw some pushing by Mikael Silvestre before he hooked the ball past Shay Given and the effort was ruled out - perhaps the poor decision he made in the first half was evened out by this one. In the following six minutes, the home side created half-a-dozen shooting opportunities, the pick of which came from the boot of substitute Quinton Fortune, but Given stood firm, as did the rest of the Newcastle team, and the United storm eventually blew itself out. Time ticked away and the visitors held out for a well-earned draw - their first point here since 1998. United went back to the top of the table by a point over Arsenal, but in the future may look back on this match as two points dropped - both Arsenal and Chelsea have already beaten Newcastle at home this season. (AP)