Matt Ritchie lifted the gloom on Tyneside with the winner in Newcastle United’s crucial 1-0 victover Manchester United in the Premier League yesterday – their first three-point haul at home since October.
Newcastle had fallen into the bottom three before kickoff after Huddersfield Town’s earlier win, but they responded with a vibrant display capped by Ritchie’s 65th minute effort.
Ritchie was released into space by Dwight Gayle’s flick and he buried a low shot past David De Gea.
Bizarrely the free kick which led to the goal was awarded when United defender Chris Smalling was booked for a blatant dive in the centre of the field.
Smalling was also lucky to get away with a first-half trip on Gayle inside the penalty area.
United were guilty of wasteful finishing with Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez the chief culprits and were denied a stoppage-time equaliser when the outstanding debutant keeper Martin Dubravka prevented an own goal from close range.
Newcastle’s first win over United for five years lifted them from 18th to 13th while Jose Mourinho’s second-placed United are now a remote 16 points behind local rivals Manchester City and looking over their shoulders at the teams behind them.