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Rooney brace can't sink United: Newcastle United 3 - 3 Manchester United

Wayne Rooney scores a brace but can't lead Manchester United to victory at St. James' Park

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

This one had every right to go off the rails.  Full credit to Newcastle United and Steve McClaren that they managed to not allow it to do so.  After falling behind in the opening 10 minutes thanks to a penalty that pundits were tripping over themselves either to confirm or condemn, it showed evidence that it would, and it was 2-0 before United showed any signs of coming into the game.  It wouldn't take much time following Manchester United scoring their second for Newcastle to build up hope and it was probably the nicest goal you've seen in quite a long time scored by any home side at St. James' Park that would start a period in which Newcastle looked every bit good value for the draw they would ultimately earn.

Newcastle had their own penalty shout in the first half turned down but would be given one when Aleksandar Mitrovic was full on tackled in the box during an NUFC corner kick.  After the Newcastle striker claimed the ball and as the obligatory grandstanding was occurring, the broadcast showed a graphic showing Mitro's last two penalties had gone to the goalkeeper's right.  The youngster had clearly anticipated David de Gea reading a scouting report that said the same and as the Spaniard went right as the penalty was stroked confidently into the opposite side of the net.

From that point at 2-2, Newcastle were ascendant and it can honestly been said were unlucky to go down 3-2 on the balance of play (although not in exactly how it was scored. Stop me if you've heard this one: an opponent runs parallel to the 18 yard stripe for more than half the pitch, and gets a shot (I know!).  This particular one was blocked and rebounded to Wayne Rooney who hit a belter for his second of the match).  Of course at that point, spirits plummeted and it looked like another "encouraging performance" from which we would get nothing tangible.  Credit to the players, they continued pressing and were ultimately rewarded with what can hopefully be evidence of the turning of Steve McClaren's famous "luck" as a Paul Dummett blast took a significant deflection and flew into the top corner of the net.

On the day it was a 3-3 draw that is concurrently encouraging, disappointing and yes lucky.  It was probably the most encouraging of the "encouraging" performances since August and with reinforcements flying in fast and thick, maybe it's time for some of that early-season hope to be thawed back out.