Manchester United extended their Premier League lead to seven points with a thrilling win over Newcastle.
James Perch pounced from close range to give the Magpies an early lead before Jonny Evans equalised in similar style then turned a cross into his own net.
Patrice Evra levelled matters with a low drive before Papiss Cisse's superb shot made it 3-2 to the Magpies.
Robin van Persie equalised with a drive before Javier Hernandez slid in to convert a cross in the final minute.
It was a remarkable finish to an extraordinary match which saw the home side come from behind on three occasions.
The result will be a bitter blow for Magpies manager Alan Pardew, although he will have been buoyed by the performance of his players, who came agonisingly close to defeating their opponents at Old Trafford for the first time since 1972.
All the ingredients were there for a potentially eventful match - Boxing Day and a rain-sodden pitch.
- Twenty-four of Man Utd's 46 league points this season (52%) have come in games in which they've trailed
And with Manchester United fielding a side without ill and injured attacking trio Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and winger Ashley Young, the visitors must have sensed the potential for an upset.
For the hardened travelling fans, some in traditional fancy dress, they were presented a glimmer of hope in the fourth minute when utility player Perch scored his first league goal after keeper David de Gea weakly parried Demba Ba's angled shot.
Newcastle settled into their rhythm while the league leaders repeatedly gave the ball away. They also looked short of ideas from open play, so when the equaliser came it was no surprise it was from a set-piece.
Van Persie delivered a free-kick from the right which was flicked on by Ryan Giggs to Hernandez, whose shot was saved but then turned in by Evans.
That was the centre-back's fourth of the season and he added a 'fifth' moments later, at the other end.
This time Danny Simpson crossed low into the Manchester United area and Evans turned in at the near post. The goal was initially disallowed after Cisse was flagged in an offside position, but the decision was overturned by referee Mike Dean following consultation with his linesman.
It left Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson incensed and he appeared to continue his protests seconds before the restart.
His mood became more positive when Evra drilled in an angled shot from 20 yards that Tim Krul got a hand to but could not stop from creeping in.
The men in red now looked the more confident of the two, but 10 minutes later the match swung back in favour of Newcastle when Cisse smashed a brilliant first-time shot past De Gea from substitute Gabriel Obertan's cross.
But, once again, the Magpies' joy was short-lived when United broke soon after the restart and Van Persie scored at the second attempt after Krul had saved his initial effort. It was Van Persie's sixth goal against Newcastle in eight league matches.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men are not ones to settle for a point and, after having hit the post with a header moments earlier, Hernandez timed his run to perfection to guide home Michael Carrick's inch-perfect cross.
- 01 De Gea
- 03 Evra
- 05 Ferdinand
- 06 Evans Booked
- 12 Smalling
- 07 Valencia Booked
- 11 Giggs
- 16 Carrick
- 22 Scholes (Cleverley - 69' )
- 14 Hernandez Booked (Fletcher - 90' )
- 20 Van Persie
- 13 Lindegaard
- 15 Vidic
- 28 Buttner
- 31 Wootton
- 23 Cleverley
- 24 Fletcher
- 46 Tunnicliffe
- 01 Krul
- 02 Coloccini
- 03 Santon
- 05 Simpson Booked
- 06 Williamson Booked
- 14 Perch
- 08 Anita
- 20 Bigirimana (Obertan - 65' )
- 22 Marveaux
- 09 Cisse Booked (Sa Ameobi - 79' )
- 19 Ba (Sh Ameobi - 71' )
- 21 Elliot
- 31 Ferguson
- 34 Tavernier
- 25 Obertan
- 23 Sh Ameobi
- 28 Sa Ameobi
- 49 Campbell
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +8:08
Fabricio Coloccini gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Robin van Persie. Rio Ferdinand takes the direct free kick.90:00 +7:33
Danny Simpson has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.90:00 +3:52
Vurnon Anita fouled by Antonio Valencia, the ref awards a free kick. Tim Krul takes the free kick.90:00 +3:01
Shola Ameobi gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rio Ferdinand. David De Gea restarts play with the free kick.90:00 +1:24 Substitution
Substitution Javier Hernandez goes off and Darren Fletcher comes on.89:58
Assist on the goal came from Michael Carrick.89:58 Goal scored
Goal! - Javier Hernandez - Man Utd 4 - 3 Newcastle Javier Hernandez gets on the score sheet with a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man Utd 4-3 Newcastle.88:08
Robin van Persie has a headed effort from close in and clears the bar.87:38
Shola Ameobi takes a shot. David De Gea makes a save.86:25
Javier Hernandez takes a shot. Save by Tim Krul.84:41
Sammy Ameobi has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.83:51
Free kick awarded for a foul by Sammy Ameobi on Javier Hernandez. Robin van Persie takes the free kick.82:58
Unfair challenge on Patrice Evra by Mike Williamson results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Giggs.82:29
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Antonio Valencia by Sammy Ameobi. Direct free kick taken by Michael Carrick.82:15
Gabriel Obertan takes a shot. David De Gea makes a save.81:35
Antonio Valencia challenges Davide Santon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Tim Krul.80:33
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Vurnon Anita by Tom Cleverley. Tim Krul takes the free kick.79:40
Close range header by Javier Hernandez goes wide of the left-hand upright.78:39 Substitution
Substitution Sammy Ameobi joins the action as a substitute, replacing Papiss Cisse.
Close range effort by Robin van Persie misses to the right of the goal.77:34
Javier Hernandez takes a shot. Fabricio Coloccini gets a block in.75:58
The ball is delivered by Patrice Evra, save by Tim Krul.74:20
Sylvain Marveaux takes a shot. David De Gea makes a save.73:52
Davide Santon fouled by Michael Carrick, the ref awards a free kick. Tim Krul takes the direct free kick.73:23
Antonio Valencia produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.71:53
Danny Simpson takes a shot. Blocked by Patrice Evra. Vurnon Anita takes the inswinging corner, save made by David De Gea.70:17 Substitution
Substitution Shola Ameobi replaces Demba Ba.70:17
The assist for the goal came from Michael Carrick.70:17 Goal scored
Goal! - Robin van Persie - Man Utd 3 - 3 Newcastle Robin van Persie grabs a goal from inside the penalty area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man Utd 3-3 Newcastle.70:09
Robin van Persie takes a shot. Save made by Tim Krul.67:42 Substitution
Substitution Tom Cleverley joins the action as a substitute, replacing Paul Scholes.67:42
Gabriel Obertan provided the assist for the goal.67:42 Goal scored
Goal! - Papiss Cisse - Man Utd 2 - 3 Newcastle Goal scored by Papiss Cisse from deep inside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-3 Newcastle.66:12
The assistant referee flags for offside against Javier Hernandez. Indirect free kick taken by Tim Krul.64:04
Michael Carrick takes the direct free kick. Chris Smalling takes a shot. Blocked by Davide Santon. Corner taken by Robin van Persie played to the near post, clearance made by Demba Ba.64:04 Substitution
Substitution Gabriel Obertan replaces Gael Bigirimana.64:04
Free kick awarded for a foul by Gael Bigirimana on Robin van Persie.63:46
Free kick taken by Paul Scholes.63:46 Booking
Booking Booking for Papiss Cisse for unsporting behaviour.63:34
Patrice Evra fouled by Papiss Cisse, the ref awards a free kick.62:50
The ball is swung over by Mike Williamson, blocked by Chris Smalling.62:13
Unfair challenge on Vurnon Anita by Robin van Persie results in a free kick. Vurnon Anita takes the free kick.61:17
Ryan Giggs gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Demba Ba. Sylvain Marveaux takes the direct free kick.60:01
Ryan Giggs takes the free kick.60:01 Booking
Booking Danny Simpson is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.59:37
Foul by Danny Simpson on Jonny Evans, free kick awarded.57:46
The assist for the goal came from Robin van Persie.57:46 Goal scored
Goal! - Patrice Evra - Man Utd 2 - 2 Newcastle Goal scored by Patrice Evra from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-2 Newcastle.57:00
Corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie, clearance by Mike Williamson.54:59
The official flags Javier Hernandez offside. Tim Krul takes the indirect free kick.53:00
Davide Santon restarts play with the free kick. Blocked by Rio Ferdinand.53:00 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Antonio Valencia for unsporting behaviour.51:32
The ball is delivered by Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba takes a shot. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Sylvain Marveaux. Foul by Antonio Valencia on Danny Simpson, free kick awarded.50:09
A cross is delivered by Davide Santon, Rio Ferdinand manages to make a clearance.49:00
The official flags Javier Hernandez offside. Free kick taken by Tim Krul.48:07
Robin van Persie has an effort at goal from close range which goes wide left of the target.46:48
Free kick awarded for a foul by Demba Ba on Chris Smalling. Rio Ferdinand takes the direct free kick.45:01
The second half has started.45:00 +2:21 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.45:00 +1:00
Demba Ba gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rio Ferdinand. Free kick taken by David De Gea.45:00 +0:11
Demba Ba is adjudged to have handled the ball. Indirect free kick taken by Patrice Evra.42:30
Robin van Persie has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.42:30 Booking
Booking The referee shows Mike Williamson a yellow card.42:27
Foul by Mike Williamson on Ryan Giggs, free kick awarded.39:34
Foul by Fabricio Coloccini on Paul Scholes, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by David De Gea.37:51
Sylvain Marveaux has a direct shot on goal from the free kick,37:51 Booking
Booking Javier Hernandez is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.37:46
Sylvain Marveaux fouled by Javier Hernandez, the ref awards a free kick.36:59
Paul Scholes produces a cross, Patrice Evra takes a shot. Tim Krul makes a save.35:29
Sylvain Marveaux restarts play with the free kick.35:29 Booking
Booking Booking for Jonny Evans for unsporting behaviour.35:25
Handball by Jonny Evans.33:51
Davide Santon takes a shot. Save made by David De Gea.32:34
Ryan Giggs gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mike Williamson. Tim Krul restarts play with the free kick.31:47
Davide Santon challenges Antonio Valencia unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Robin van Persie.31:25
Close range effort by Danny Simpson clears the crossbar.27:46
Assist by Danny Simpson.27:46 Goal scored
Goal! - Jonny Evans - Man Utd 1 - 2 Newcastle Jonny Evans concedes an own goal. Man Utd 1-2 Newcastle.24:20
Assist by Javier Hernandez. Shot from just outside the box by Demba Ba misses to the right of the goal.24:20 Goal scored
Goal! - Jonny Evans - Man Utd 1 - 1 Newcastle Jonny Evans grabs a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 1-1 Newcastle.23:47
Davide Santon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Antonio Valencia. Robin van Persie takes the direct free kick. Javier Hernandez takes a shot. Tim Krul makes a save.22:35
Centre by Chris Smalling.21:04
Ryan Giggs crosses the ball, Mike Williamson makes a clearance. The ball is delivered by Ryan Giggs, clearance made by Mike Williamson.18:53
Foul by Mike Williamson on Javier Hernandez, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Michael Carrick.17:35
Demba Ba takes a shot. Rio Ferdinand gets a block in.16:48
Demba Ba takes a shot. Jonny Evans makes a clearance.16:05
Unfair challenge on Demba Ba by Paul Scholes results in a free kick. Tim Krul restarts play with the free kick.14:21
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Davide Santon by Antonio Valencia. Tim Krul restarts play with the free kick.9:33
The ball is crossed by Chris Smalling, clearance made by Vurnon Anita.8:23
The ball is swung over by Javier Hernandez.6:08
Free kick awarded for a foul by Demba Ba on Jonny Evans. Free kick taken by Jonny Evans.3:56
Assist by Demba Ba.3:56 Goal scored
Goal! - James Perch - Man Utd 0 - 1 Newcastle James Perch fires in a goal from close range to the top right corner of the goal. Man Utd 0-1 Newcastle.3:52
Demba Ba takes a shot. Save made by David De Gea.0:13
Free kick awarded for a foul by Robin van Persie on James Perch. Free kick taken by Vurnon Anita.0:00
The match gets underway.
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