Newcastle 1 United 0
Matty Longstaff’s first Premier League goal gave Newcastle victory over Manchester United on a cold, grey afternoon at St James’ Park.
The midfielder – younger brother of Sean, who played alongside him in midfield – drove home after 72 minutes to consign the Reds to a third defeat of the season.
Harry Maguire had United’s best chance of the game, heading Ashley Young’s corner wide just before half-time.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made six changes from the side which drew in the Netherlands in midweek, with Axel Tuanzebe, Harry Maguire, Ashley Young, Scott McTominay, Andreas Pereira and Marcus Rashford all returning to the team.
Newcastle, fresh from a disappointing 5-0 defeat at Leicester City last weekend, took to the pitch with a point to prove, with wide players Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron impressing from the off.
The former's rampaging run within the first 60 seconds allowed Almiron time and space on the right-hand side of the box, but David De Gea did well to block the Paraguayan’s effort. Moments later, Almiron once again had a free run with the ball in a dangerous area, and this time he was pulled back by Fred, earning the Brazilian the first caution of the afternoon.
Saint-Maximin then let fly from distance, but De Gea was happy to see the tame effort fly harmlessly wide of his near post.
United, perhaps still recovering from our exertions in the Hague less than 72 hours previously, were urged on by the travelling support, who could be heard singing loudly throughout from the steep heights of the Leazes End.
Daniel James, the standout player of each of our last two away matches in the Premier League, at Southampton and West Ham, showed glimpses of his raw pace, winning two free-kicks in quick succession which the Reds were unable to take advantage of.
United were dominating possession, with the home side attempting to hit us on the break, but it was the Magpies who were enjoying the best chances in front of goal.
Matty Longstaff rattled the crossbar on 28 minutes with an effort from outside the box after the Magpies got forward in numbers, before Fabian Schar glanced his header just too high, so it nestled on top of De Gea’s net, rather than inside it.
Hearts were then in mouths as Almiron beat the offside trap to latch on to Schar’s long ball, but Maguire did magnificently to recover and get a toe in the way to prevent the Magpies’ playmaker from opening the scoring.
The Swiss centre-back Schar was in the thick of the action, and almost bundled the ball into his own net just before the interval. Instead, he turned the ball out for a corner which, when whipped in by Young, found the head of Maguire in space, but the centre-back couldn’t find the target and the sides went in level.
United started the brighter of the two sides in the second half and, with most of the play occurring in the home side’s final third, Steve Bruce opted to call upon the significant frame of Andy Carroll in a bid to provide some relief for the Magpies.
After Pereira flashed a cross just beyond the stretching James at the far post, United responded with our own tactical tweak. Marcos Rojo replaced Dalot and slotted in next to Maguire at centre-back, with Tuanzebe moving out to the right-hand side.
With an hour gone, Carroll got involved for the first time, outmuscling Maguire and nodding just over with a powerful header from Sean Longstaff’s cross.
United began to have more of the ball in wide areas and good link-up play between Rashford and the recently introduced Mason Greenwood led to Young’s shot being blocked, before James’ cross was turned out for a corner by a black and white shirt with Rashford lurking.
But the threat on the break from the first half remained and, when United failed to win the ball off the onrushing Jetro Willems, the full-back teed up the younger Longstaff, who finished superbly past De Gea from the edge of the area.
The Magpies – buoyed by only their second home goal of the season – now sat even deeper, inviting the Reds to break them down and despite the unrelenting efforts of United’s mass of 3,000 fans, Solskjaer’s men were unable to find a reply, with Rojo going closest with a header which flew just over Martin Dubravka’s crossbar.
Newcastle: Dubravka; Willems, Clark, Lascelles (c), Schar, Yedlin; Almiron (Krafth 90), S Longstaff, M Longstaff, Saint-Maximin (Atsu 83); Joelinton (Carroll 56).
Subs not used: Darlow, Dummett, Shelvey, Gayle.
Booked: Yedlin, Almiron
United: De Gea; Dalot (Rojo 60), Tuanzebe, Maguire, Young (c) (Chong 86); Fred, McTominay; Andreas, Mata (Greenwood 66), James; Rashford.
Subs not used: Romero, Williams, Matic, Gomes.
Booked: Fred, McTominay, Rojo