Premier League - Evans and Evra on target as United go second

Manchester United speared Newcastle United with two goals in the opening 15 minutes on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win at St James' Park that carries them second top of the Premier League.

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Premier League - Evans and Evra on target as United go second
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Manchester United's Jonny Evans (C) celebrates scoring against Newcastle United with teammates during their English Premier League soccer match in Newcastle, northern England, October 7, 2012 (Reuters)

The visiting side put the memory of last week's 3-2 home loss to Tottenham firmly to one side when Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans rose highest in a crowded box to power home a header from Robin van Persie's delicious corner on eight minutes.

The home side's struggles continued at corners when they shipped a second goal on 15 minutes. This time Patrice Evra was on hand to meet the outstanding Wayne Rooney's delivery in a goal of some simplicity with Newcastle marking fresh air.

Alan Pardew's team continued to toil for large swathes of the match and hopes of a comeback finally faded when Tom Cleverley tried to pick out Van Persie with a cross on 71 minutes only to see the ball sail over his United companion and the home goalkeeper Steve Harper from 30 yards out.

Both of Cleverley’s goals for United have come against Newcastle. He also netted against Newcastle in Manchester United’s 2-1 win at home in the League Cup last week.

The England player looked surprised as he celebrated, but there were few surprises about the result with Sir Alex Ferguson's team running out convincing winners on a gloriously autumnal day in Newcastle.

The home team will point to the moment Papiss Cisse headed towards a gaping net after Demba Ba beat an unconvincing visiting goalkeeper David de Gea in the air to hit the bar on 51 minutes.

Television replays showed the ball was not over the line when De Gea threw a hand at the ball to scoop it away with the whole ball not over the line in another of those tiresome goal technology discussing moments.

United move above champions Manchester City on goal difference with 15 points from seven matches. They are only four points adrift of leaders Chelsea as they head for the international break after a fifth win in seven league games.

Manchester United are unbeaten in their last five Premier League matches that followed a Champions League tie. Ferguson will be happy with their week's work after the 2-1 midweek win at CFR Cluj in Europe.

United could have been out of sight before Cleverley added the third with 20 minutes or so left.

Danny Welbeck should have netted when he stubbed the ball at goal from an Evans backheel on five minutes while Harper was forced to save from Van Persie after he had bounded beyond Michael Williamson seconds before the opening goal.

Harper was then desperately fortunate not to present Welbeck with a second goal when he somehow allowed the forward to rob him of the ball, but Welbeck's shot evaded the goal when he seemed likely to score.

Newcastle could have had a penalty when Evra seemed to tug the shirt of Cisse inside the box while Van Persie was fortunate not to avoid collecting a second yellow card after appearing to catch Yohan Cabaye in the face with his arm in the closing moments.

Elsewhere, Ba headed wide and knocked a shot over in the first half, but Newcastle finished a distant second on the day having paid the price for a sluggish start.

The only real point of concern for Alex Ferguson was the indifferent form of De Gea, whose failure to collect high balls was a generally concerning theme for the visitors.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Wayne Rooney - worked tremendously hard to cover ground and played provider in sending over the corner that enabled Patrice Evra to score the second goal.

PLAYER RATINGS

Newcastle United: Harper 5; Santon 6, Williamson 5, Perch 5, Ferguson 6; Ben Arfa 6, Cabaye 6, Tiote 5, Gutierrez 6; Ba 6, Cisse 5..subs: Bigirimana 6, Anita 6, Shola Ameobi 6

Manchester United: De Gea 5; Rafael 7, Ferdinand 7, Evans 8, Evra 7; Carrick 8, Cleverley 8; Welbeck 5, Rooney 8, Kagawa 6; Van Persie 7..subs: Scholes 6, Valencia 6, Giggs 6

REFEREE

Howard Webb (Yorkshire)

MATCHCAST AND FULL STATS

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