Fergie fumes at penalty decision

The Scot was convinced his side should have been awarded a

last-gasp spot-kick for Danny Simpson’s challenge on Javier

Hernandez, only to see referee Lee Probert, who had earlier turned

down similar appeals from Peter Lovenkrands, book the Mexican for

diving. Ferguson told Sky Sports: “It was a clear penalty. It’s an

insult because he’s booked him. “I thought the referee had a good

game tonight, but he’s let himself down by booking the player. “If

it’s not a penalty, fine, but to book him is an insult. There is

definitely contact, no doubt about that.” However, Magpies boss

Alan Pardew was adamant Simpson’s challenge did not warrant a

penalty, and convinced that Lovenkrands would not have dived as he

went down in the area under Anderson’s challenge. He said: “My

heart sank because I thought the ref had given it. “The history of

Manchester United – last-minute goals, the club that they are, the

manager that they have, I honestly thought the referee had given

it. “You have to applaud him for the decision he made because it

was the correct decision. “Danny stuck a leg out, if I am honest,

but just retrieved it back in and Hernandez went over. “He took

that opportunity and in the last minute, I don’t criticise him for

that – I might have done it myself – but the referee got the

decision right and we got, in my opinion, a deserved draw.”

Newcastle survived something of an onslaught after a bright start,

and were forced to defend for dear life as Wayne Rooney and

Hernandez set about the task of trying to carve them open. Tim

Krul, deputising for the injured Steve Harper, made fine first-half

saves from both men, and it took a vital block by Jose Enrique to

deny Hernandez on the stroke of half-time. The Magpies had

themselves gone close through Jonas Gutierrez and Lovenkrands, but

after the break, it was United who upped the tempo. Nani and Rooney

blasted long-range efforts just wide and the England striker missed

the target with an injury-time header, but in the meantime, Ryan

Giggs had uncharacteristically fired wide from a glorious

69th-minute chance. Stephen Ireland, who finally made his debut as

a second-half substitute, volleyed just wide within minutes of his

introduction, but despite United’s second-half dominance of

possession, a draw was a fair result. The point took Ferguson’s men

seven points clear of second-placed Arsenal with just five games to

play, with Chelsea a further two points adrift. Asked what it means

in the title race, the United manager replied: “It’s difficult to

say. I suppose the way Newcastle fought, they would probably feel

they deserved a point, certainly in the first 20 minutes. “But for

the remainder of the game, we were more or less in control. “At

this stage of the season, you look at it and we are in a better

position than we were on Saturday, one less game and the same

position we were with Arsenal with five games left. “You have got

to look at Chelsea also and how they respond with the three home

games in a row now. “There are two important games going to come

up, obviously, and that’s the Arsenal game away and the Chelsea

game at home.” Newcastle’s point took them to 40 for the season and

lifted them back into ninth place, ever closer to booking their

place in next season’s top flight. Pardew said: “With our goal

difference, you would like to think it’s probably enough. “But we

have five games left and we have still got a great opportunity to

finish in the top 10. “With the suspensions and injuries that we

have and the player we lost in the window [Andy Carroll], we can be

very proud of that.”