Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 3

Last updated : 14 November 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Wonderboy Wayne Rooney, who rejected a move to Newcastle and instead chose a future in the red shirt of Manchester United, showed the Geordie public just what they are missing.

The England star struck two Premiership goals in a game for Manchester United for the first time and had a hand in the other as the Red Devils made it three successive wins at St James' Park.

That's four successive defeats now for Newcastle who have managed just three goals during that period and leaked 11 at the other end – worrying times for manager Graeme Souness.

Newcastle are looking more and more like a mid-table side as the Souness ploy of playing Alan Shearer, Patrick Kluivert and Craig Bellamy continues to prove disappointing.

Kluivert was replaced in the second half and headed straight down the tunnel as Newcastle again created plenty of chances but again lacked penetration in front of goal.

Manchester United were methodical as they claimed the three points that they so desperately needed to close the gap on leaders Chelsea to 11 points – and keep alive their slim hopes of catching Jose Mourinho's side.

Every time Newcastle have scored in the Premiership this season they have not lost – every time the opposition has scored first they have gone on to win. This was exactly that same scenario for the fifth time this season.

Manchester United started off brightly with good possession though it was Newcastle who almost broke the deadlock after three minutes.

With Laurent Robert on the bench, skipper Alan shearer took on the free-kick responsibilities and saw his swerving 30-yarder strike the left leg of Roy Carroll with the keeper moving in the opposite direction.

A classic move then saw Shearer cross from the right and Bellamy chested down for Kluivert whose rasping left foot volley flew inches over the bar.

Despite missing out on their chances, Manchester United did not fluff their lines when producing their first opportunity as Rooney finished with clinical precision after seven minutes – though Titus Bramble must question his positional sense.

Gary Neville got the move going on the right to Darren Fletcher whose pinpoint ball saw Rooney free to sweep in a right-foot volley across Given, but disappointingly he was left unchallenged.

The lead could easily have been doubled on the quarter hour when Stephen Carr slipped and let in Ronaldo whose drive was blocked by the legs of Given.

Two minutes later and Carr limped from the pitch to be replaced by Andy O'Brien.

Bramble's forward charge set up another chance for Kluivert but he shot wide before Shearer missed the type of chance he has buried for the last 15 years.

It was one of those most rare of mistakes from Rio Ferdinand who missed a Given clearance and Shearer turned on the edge of the box to see his right-foot volley swerve just wide with Carroll beaten.

Ruud Van Nistelrooy fired into the sidenetting before Newcastle produced a grandstand finish to the half.

Rooney was blasted by Carroll after a back pass was intercepted by Kluivert who went around the keeper and then shot wide.

Kluivert was again involved when Shearer headed back across goal and the Dutchman made a feeble attempt at a header and then lifted his shot over the bar.

Fletcher drove high and wide after 51 minutes when he should have done better as Newcastle then began to up the tempo.

Mikael Silvestre went off with a face injury to be replaced by Wes Brown who was caught out for United's 71st minute equaliser.

Shearer on the right, robbed the England international before cutting inside and when the gap opened drove left footed beyond Carroll.

St James' Park erupted – for all of three minutes.

Newcastle were furious when Rooney appeared to foul O'Brien, but the referee allowed play to continue and eventually Rooney crossed for Given to claw the ball away and when he went for possession Paul Scholes went sprawling.

The referee pointed straight to the spot and van Nistelrooy did what he inevitably does with a penalty, buried it deep in the corner to Given's right with the keeper going to his left.

Ronnie Johnsen and Bramble were cautioned for protesting as Newcastle lost their composure.

Then to add insult to injury in time added on, substitute Giggs crossed for Bramble to clear off the line from van Nistelrooy only for Rooney to bury the rebound.