Newcastle - Jose Mourinho is still waiting to win a Premier League game at
Newcastle after Matt Ritchie's goal sentenced Manchester United to a
shock 1-0 defeat on Sunday.
As it happened: Newcastle v Manchester United
This was Mourinho's seventh attempt to
steer a team to victory on Tyneside and the United manager was destined
for more misery at St James' Park thanks Ritchie's second-half goal.
to Mourinho's frustration, the goal stemmed from a free-kick awarded
for a needless dive by United defender Chris Smalling.
But Mourinho could have no complaints about second placed United's second defeat in their last three league games.
This was an unimaginative performance lacking drive and desire and leaves them 16 points behind leaders Manchester City.
couldn't match the aggression of a Newcastle team fighting for survival
and there were wild celebrations at full-time as the hosts moved out of
the relegation zone.
Mourinho must have feared the worst early on.
United arrived with seven clean sheets in their last eight games, but proved to be surprisingly vulnerable.
only five minutes, David De Gea made an excellent save from Jonjo
Shelvey after Dwight Gayle's free-kick rebounded to the midfielder off
the United wall.
Ayoze Perez drove a shot narrowly wide from the
edge of the area and a superb clearance from Smalling snuffed out
another Newcastle threat as United struggled to retain possession.
all added up to a hugely encouraging start for Newcastle manager Rafa
Benitez, who gave a debut to Slovak goalkeeper Martin Dubravka following
his arrival on loan last month.
In his first half-hour of Premier
League football, Dubravka was only required to make two routine
clearances from the edge of his area.
At the other end, De Gea
had made another save from Kenedy by the time the visitors finally
tested Dubravka as he turned away a 32nd minute shot from Jesse Lingard.
Four minutes later Dubravka showed why Benitez was so eager to sign him.
Martial appeared certain to score when Nemanja Matic's measured pass
sent him clear, but the keeper narrowed the angle and kicked away the
United might have gone in behind if referee Craig Pawson
had not rejected justifiable penalty claims when Gayle went down under a
clumsy challenge from Smalling in the 40th minute.
Benitez's furious reaction on the touchline mixed anger with disbelief.
Spaniard was more impressed by Pawson's judgement eight minutes into
the second-half when the official decided - correctly - that Romelu
Lukaku had pushed a defender as he rose to head past Dubravka.
Lukaku, like the majority of his teammates, had been anonymous.
exception was Alexis Sanchez and he almost put them ahead in the 57th
minute when he rounded Dubravka before his goal-bound shot was blocked
by Florian Lejeune.
Mourinho was already preparing to send on
substitutes Michael Carrick and Juan Mata in place of the ineffectual
Paul Pogba and Lingard when his side went behind from a free-kick
awarded for Smalling's dive.
The defender was cautioned and further punishment was to follow when Shelvey delivered the free-kick.
headed it towards goal, Gayle touched it back into the path of Ritchie
and he stroked his shot inside the post from 10 yards.
proved to be enough to earn Newcastle three invaluable points, but only
after two goalline clearances from Gayle denied Martial in the closing