Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0: Matt Ritchie fires club up the table

Matt Ritchie (Pic: Frank Reid)
Matt Ritchie (Pic: Frank Reid)

Matt Ritchie fired Newcastle United up to 13th in the Premier League.

A goal from the winger gave Rafa Benitez's side a hard-fought 1-0 win over second-placed Manchester United at St James's Park this afternoon.

Newcastle had been in the bottom three at kick-off time following Huddersfield Town's win over Bournemouth.

The result, the club's first home win since October 21, has taken the club two points clear of the drop zone.

Newcastle started well, and Jonjo Shelvey, superb all afternoon, forced a fine save from David de Gea early in the game.

At the other end of the pitch, debutant Martin Dubravka quickly settled into the game. The goalkeeper turned a deflected shot from Jesse Lingard round his post and also denied Anthony Martial with his left foot.

Matt Ritchie

Matt Ritchie

Newcastle were furious with referee Craig Pawson, who waved play on after Chris Smalling tripped Dwight Gayle in the corner of the box.

The breakthrough came in the 64th minute.Shelvey clipped a free-kick into the box for Florian Lejeune, who headed it down to Dwight Gayle. The striker laid it off for Ritchie, who squeezed the ball between de Gea and his post.

Man United fought back strongly, and Newcastle defended as if their lives depended on the result in the last 15 minutes.

And Benitez's players held on to claim a hugely-important win.

Martin Dubravka saves from Anthony Martial

Martin Dubravka saves from Anthony Martial

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett; Shelvey, Diame; Ritchie, Perez (Hayden, 90), Kenedy (Atsu, 84); Gayle (Joselu, 79). Subs not used: Darlow, Manquillo, Merino, Murphy.

MANCHESTER UNITED: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young, Matic (McTominay, 77), Pogba (Carrick, 66), Martial, Lingard (Mata, 66), Sanchez, Lukaku. Subs not used: Romero, Lindelof, Rojo, Shaw.

Goal: Ritchie 65

Bookings: Smalling 64, Valencia 88

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Attendance: 52,309