Manchester United 0 – Newcastle United 0: Gritty fight sees NUFC pick up point at Old Trafford

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren

Newcastle United manager Steve McClaren

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A gritty, resilient and determined performance from Newcastle United saw them pick up a deserved point at Manchester United after an entertaining goalless draw.

There was drama from start to finish but a resilient Toon side held off the threat from the hosts to record a huge point away from home.

Steve McClaren’s side are still winless in the Premier League but this was a morale-boosting draw after the 2-0 defeat to Swansea City last weekend.

They had chances to win the game, with new signing Aleksandar Mitrovic hitting the crossbar.

But they were under the cosh for much of the game, holding back a pressing and probing United side.

They also managed to contain Wayne Rooney, who had gone four-and-a-half months without a goal for United.

He looked lively from the off.

And three minutes in and Rooney had the ball in the back of the net, beating a very questionable offside trap before slotting past Krul.

But assistant referee Lee Betts had already waved, controversially ruling Rooney offside - to the relief of Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.

It was wave after wave of attacks from the hosts, with Rooney, Memphis and Mata all testing Krul’s handling.

Mata almost scored the opener after 15 minutes, his low drilled shot had Krul diving to his left to make a smart, save for another corner.

The defensive duo of Vurnon Anita and Jack Colback were struggling to protect the defence.

Newcastle weathered the early storm and slowly edged their way back into the match, with summer signing Aleksandar Mitrovic almost scoring with a powerful header after 23 minutes.

Chancel Mbemba broke down the right and produced a perfect cross to the head of the Serbian who had climbed well but his header clattered off the crossbar.

It was a breathless first half, with Newcastle enjoying the better of the game as half-time approached.

Mitrovic impressed up front with his work rate, while Newcastle’s dogged defending at the back kept Man United at bay.

Half-Time: Manchester United 0 Newcastle 0

The pace of the second half didn’t relent, with van Gaal’s United pressing and probing but Newcastle continued to hold firm.

Clear chances were at a premium but you couldn’t faul the workrate or commitment on show.

A frustrated van Gaal introduced Michael Carrick from the bench, replacing Bastian Schweinsteiger, who had been suffering with a foot problem in the first half.

But Newcastle were resilient as the hosts stepped up the pressure.

New signing Florian Thauvin, signed from Marseille for £13m, was given his debut after 69 minutes to a rapturous reception from the travelling Toon army.

Rooney had a shot blocked in front of the Streford End in the 72nd minute as the home fans chanted ‘attack, attack, attack’.

That was followed up by Mata blasting high into the crowd after good work from Rooney down the left.

Luke Shaw then burst forward but his shot didn’t match his impressive run.

Krul then made a wonderful save with his leg to deny sub Chicharito from giving Man United the lead in the 80th minute - the Dutchman came flying out of his goal and spread himself well.

In the dying minutes, a mixture of the post and Anita prevented Chris Smalling’s header from going in.

Then Newcastle broke and Cisse laid the ball to Thauvin but he couldn’t stretch enough to tap the ball in as the game - somehow - ended goalless.

Full-Time: Manchester United 0 Newcastle 0

Man Utd (4-2-3-1): Romero, Darmian (Valencia, 76), Blind, Smalling, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger (Carrick, 58), Januzaj (Chicharito, 67), Mata, Memphis, Rooney (C).

Subs not used: Johnstone, Young, Herrera, McNair.

Booked: Darmian (19), Shaw (70)

Goals: none

Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Krul, Mbemba, Taylor, Coloccini (C), Haidara, Colback, Anita, Wijnaldum, Obertan (Thauvin, 69), Perez (Tiote, 76), Mitrovic (Cisse, 88).

Subs Not Used: Darlow, Williamson, de Jong, Aarons.

Booked: Haidara (20), Obertan (57)

Goals: none

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)