2017/2018 English Premier League
  • Matt Ritchie (65')

Newcastle boost survival hopes with victory over Manchester United

Matt Ritchie scored a second-half winner for Newcastle as they lifted themselves out of the relegation places with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at St James' Park.

Newcastle made a strong start and were almost ahead after five minutes when the ball broke to Jonjo Shelvey on the edge of the box and his strike brought an excellent save from David De Gea.

Ayoze Perez shot wide from range moments later, and the visitors were then grateful to Chris Smalling for some cool defending when DeAndre Yedlin got in a dangerous cross.

But just after the quarter of an hour United threatened as Alexis Sanchez got the better of Yedlin and played the ball in for Romelu Lukaku, who hit his shot all wrong.

Paul Pogba, who had looked in some discomfort during the warm-up, was beginning to exert an influence and was involved in a move that ended with a deflected Sanchez shot being tipped away by Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka.

After 33 minutes, Dubravka made a great stop to prevent the visitors from going ahead, thwarting Anthony Martial in a one-on-one after the striker had been played through by Nemanja Matic's superb pass.

Newcastle wanted a 39th-minute penalty when Smalling challenged Dwight Gayle, just inside the area, but their pleas were waved away to the visible anger of manager Rafa Benitez.

United began the second half on the front foot but the home side thought they had the first chance when Shelvey threaded a pass through for Matt Ritchie, only for the offside flag to go up.

With 53 minutes gone, Smalling headed the ball across the area and Lukaku headed in but the referee had seen a push, and the striker just failed to get on the end of a deflected Sanchez shot moments later.

Sanchez danced into the area only to be crowded out for a corner that came to nothing, but the visitors were beginning to up the pressure with Newcastle struggling for possession.

They were close again after a lovely pass from Lukaku set up Sanchez who rounded the goalkeeper but saw his strike brilliantly blocked by Florian Lejeune.

The importance of that intervention became clear when, after 65 minutes, Newcastle took the lead as Ritchie was left unmarked to sweep home a left-footed shot after the ball had been headed across by Lejeune and touched on by Gayle.

United boss Jose Mourinho responded with a double change, taking off Pogba and Jesse Lingard and replacing them with Juan Mata and Michael Carrick.

A third substitution followed, Scott McTominay coming on for Matic, and seconds later Martial had another chance for United but saw his scuffed effort scrambled away from inside the Newcastle six-yard box.

Benitez made a change as the game head into its final 10 minutes, replacing Gayle with Matic, with Kenedy later replaced by Christian Atsu as Newcastle saw out the remaining minutes to seal a memorable victory, Dubravka making a late, late save to keep out a Carrick flick.

English Premier League Standings

1 Liverpool 26 +46 76
2 Manchester City 25 +36 51
3 Leicester City 26 +28 50
4 Chelsea 26 +7 41
5 Tottenham Hotspur 26 +9 40
6 Sheffield United 26 +4 39
7 Manchester United 26 +9 38
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 26 +3 36
9 Everton 26 -4 36
10 Arsenal 26 +2 34
11 Burnley 26 -9 34
12 Southampton 26 -16 31
13 Newcastle United 26 -16 31
14 Crystal Palace 26 -9 30
15 Brighton & Hove Albion 26 -7 27
16 AFC Bournemouth 26 -14 26
17 Aston Villa 26 -16 25
18 West Ham United 25 -13 24
19 Watford 26 -16 24
20 Norwich City 26 -24 18