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."