Manchester United recorded a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday, with Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra among the scorers.
The visitors opened the game in blistering style at St James’ Park, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes and creating numerous other chances.
Tom Cleverley extended their lead with a spectacular long-range curler, although the midfielder may have been attempting to cross for Robin van Persie.
United made a bright start to the game, Danny Welbeck failing to add the final touch to a brilliant flowing move in the first five minutes after Evans’ back-heel.
Alex Ferguson’s men went one better moments later, as Evans thumped Van Persie’s corner into the back of the net with a powerful header.
The hosts looked to hit back instantly through Hatem Ben Arfa, who tricked his way past a string of opponents, but failed to find a team-mate with his cross.
Then the away side came forward again, fullback Rafael riffling a shot just wide of goal.
With still under 15 minutes played, Welbeck should have doubled the lead after an awful error by Stephen Harper.
The Magpies’ shot-stopper tried to dribble past the forward but was dispossessed, only to have his blushes spared by the England international, who missed the open goal.
Minutes later, Ferguson’s men did make it two.
Rooney’s free-kick was tipped behind by Harper, but the keeper could do nothing to deny Patrice Evra heading the resulting corner home.
Jonas Gutierrez offered some resistance for Alan Pardew’s side, firing narrowly wide from outside the box, with Demba Ba also blazing over as the game approached the half-hour mark, but the moments of danger came squeezed in between longer periods of Manchester United dominance.
The home side worked their way back into the fixture as half-time drew near.
Yohan Cabaye and Ba both had half-chances, the former going close from range and the latter flicking a volley over the bar.
The visitors were also lucky to avoid conceding a penalty when Evra’s shirt tug on Papiss Cisse went unpunished just before the break.
Newcastle thought they had pulled a goal back early in the second period, when Cisse’s header was clawed away by David de Gea, though Magpies players and fans alike were convinced it crossed the line – all that after the keeper tipped Ba’s header onto the cross-bar.
The second half was generally quieter than the first after that. Rooney saw a strike parried away by Harper, before Ben Arfa’s touch and shot went wide. Van Persie had the ball in the net, but was flagged for offside.
As the hosts’ search for a life-line continued, Cleverley secured the win for his side with a stunning curling effort that flew into the top corner 20 minutes from time.
However, only the midfielder will know if he meant it, or if he was looking for Van Persie’s back-post run.
Nevertheless, the goal wrapped up the three points and sees Ferguson’s men climb to second place on the table.