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Manchester United win in stoppage time again

Yet another stoppage time winner kept Manchester United in command at the top of the Premier League. United’s penchant for very late winners has created the term "Fergie time" for those vital extra minutes the United manager demands with a significant look at his watch. On this occasion just a few seconds were needed for Javier Hernandez to secure the winner in a topsy-turvy match against Newcastle.

It was an embarrassing game all round for defenders, with United emerging the 4-3 victors in a match that was a comedy of errors. The officials were prone to a few errors too, and Ferguson may face an FA charge for his vehement protests to the referee Mike Dean and his assistants.

Fergie was outraged at the award of Newcastle’s second goal, an own goal from Jonny Evans after the linesman had flagged Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse for offside. "Mike Dean doesn't have the benefit of what I have got in terms of video replay," Ferguson said after the game, probably in more diplomatic terms than those he used to Dean. "He said it was an own-goal, so it didn't matter that the player was offside but when you see the video replay he is certainly interfering with the play. The referee changed the linesman's mind."

By the end, Ferguson’s mood had improved, to the extent that he was prepared to gloss over his team’s erratic defending. "The statement was the performance," he said. "That was a championship performance. It puts us in a good position but we always say December is a month that tells you everything. We come to 1 January at Wigan still top of the league."

United were helped by Manchester City’s surprise defeat away to Sunderland. Chelsea kept up their run of good form with a 1-0 win at Norwich, supporting manager Rafa Benitez’s view that they are still in the title race.

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