Manchester United moved seven points clear in the race for the Premier League title with Newcastle holding them to a hard fought draw.
Newcastle started the brighter at St James’ Park on Wednesday, creating a number of openings mainly through the lively Joey Barton.
He picked out Shola Ameobi with a deep cross after just five minutes, but the big striker could not beat Edwin van der Sar with a weak volley.
Cheik Tiote and Jonas Guttierez also had efforts deflected and saved as Newcastle looked for an unlikely opening goal.
Tim Krul started in goal for Newcastle and he had to be on hand to keep out a volley from the prolific Javier Hernandez.
Barton stepped up to take a couple of free kicks after some uncharacteristic fouling on the edge of the box from Manchester United, but the midfielder found van der Sar in good form.
Newcastle will feel that they should’ve had a penalty early in the second half, with Peter Lovenkrands brought down in the area by Anderson; the replays backing the hosts’ claims for a spot kick but to no avail.
The best chance of the second half fell to United veteran Ryan Giggs, who somehow contrived to shoot wide, despite having time and space in the box with hte ball on his preferred lft foot.
Stephen Ireland made his long awaited debut for Newcastle as a late substitute, and the on-loan Aston Villa midfielder nearly scored with his first touch after blazing a shot wide .
Hernandez was then booked in stoppage time for diving after being brought down by Danny Simpson.
Although replays showing contact between the two, a penalty would have been harsh on Newcastle, who worked hard for their point.
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