Giggs tried to give Rooney another sight of goal when he slid a delicious ball between two Newcastle defenders but the striker couldn’t strike it and Krul smothered the threat.
Ferdinand’s concession of a costly spot-kick in the previous meeting was controversial to say the least, so perhaps there was some karma when the defender’s penalty-box tangle with Demba Ba on 25 minutes brought a ‘play on’ gesture from referee Howard Webb – despite howls for the opposite decision from the partisan Tyneside crowd.
If replays suggested Ba was rightly aggrieved not to get a penalty, he meted out some justice of his own by breaking the deadlock in style. The approach at the Sports Direct Arena was certainly direct with Krul hoofing a long kick to the edge of the Reds’ area but the finish was accomplished as Ba hooked Ameobi’s flick-on over Ferdinand and Lindegaard and into the net.
It was the first league goal against Lindegaard in England, and the first against the Reds on the road domestically since the now infamous October draw at Anfield. But the rarity of the concession was of no interest or consolation to Sir Alex’s men with the live league table showing a three-point lead for Manchester City with the same number of games, 20, played.
With the excitable home fans baying for more, Ryan Taylor's free-kick just failed to meet their expectations, marginally clearing the crossbar after an angry Giggs was deemed to have brought down Demba Ba. The half ended with Lindegaard saving from Ba and then Rooney banging the turf in frustration at the other end after an apparent foul against him was ignored by Webb.