Manchester United 1 - 1 Newcastle United: Penalty drama earns Magpies a draw

SIR Alex Ferguson has labelled Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle “a travesty” as he tried to take in the Magpies’ controversial equaliser at Old Trafford.

The hosts were leading through Javier Hernandez’s second-half effort when Rio Ferdinand slid in on Hatem Ben Arfa. Referee Mike Jones indicated a corner, only for linesman John Flynn to signal for a penalty.

TV replays indicated Ferdinand’s challenge had been legal, but after discussing the decision with Flynn, Jones refused to overrule his assistant and Demba Ba tucked home the spot-kick.

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“To not get the three points from that is just a travesty,” said Ferguson. “It was everyone’s view, including the referee. He thought Rio won the ball and gave a corner. He has let the linesman overrule him.”

Ferguson recounted an incident in the home game against Sunderland earlier this month, when a linesman flagged for a penalty, only for referee Lee Mason to, correctly, give the decision in United’s favour as an example of what should have happened.

“We had a situation a few weeks ago,” he said.

“The linesman gave a penalty for a handball, which was obviously an opponent’s hand. He was put in a terrible quandary. He didn’t know what to do. But he knew full well it was a handball from an opponent and overruled the linesman. That is what he should have done today.”

United players surrounded Jones at the final whistle, with Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney particularly upset as they made their way off the field.

However, Newcastle deserved some credit for the barrage of late attacks they managed to withstand, despite having Jonas Gutierrez sent off.

Tim Krul made a string of fine saves, former United defender Danny Simpson denied Hernandez with a magnificent goal-line clearance and the Mexican had an effort ruled out for offside deep into stoppage time.

“It was a fantastic performance by us and an incredible result,” said Ferguson. “I could see us scoring because we kept creating chances and the normal pattern of these 15-minute surges is that we take our chances and we are okay.

“They put their bodies on the line. I give them credit for that. We absolutely slaughtered them but we just couldn’t get the result.

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“It is disappointing but if we play like that every week, I will be very happy.”

Even Newcastle manager Alan Pardew accepted his team had “got a break”, although he did feel Ferdinand had taken a chance by sliding in.

“It was a good spell for us,” he said. “We put them under pressure and you can get something when you do that, even against the best teams.

“I thought the tackle was risky. He definitely played the ball. I have seen it.

“Whether the referee thought he took a bit of Hatem before he got the ball is debatable. If it was against me I would be very aggrieved.

“We got a break but we still had to score the goal and Demba was very cool. The place was going mad. I wouldn’t have liked to take it.

“I don’t know where to start with the second half. It was all going off.

“Our attitude and defending deserved a point. The heroism in that penalty box was unbelievable. They were Geordie heroes.”