Premiership: United brush Newcastle aside

Manchester United were back to their clinical best as they ruthlessly dispatched Newcastle at Old Trafford last night to register their sixth successive Premiership win.

Manchester United were back to their clinical best as they ruthlessly dispatched Newcastle at Old Trafford last night to register their sixth successive Premiership win.

The win lifts United up to second in the table, two points behind leaders Leeds.

It was also a win achieved without Ryan Giggs and David Beckham.

Giggs did not even make the bench and was presumably injured or ill, while Beckham was named among the substitutes, and only came on for the last few minutes.

United landed the first telling blow when they opened the scoring in the 24th minute with a goal that will give Bobby Robson nightmares.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found Mickael Silvestre in acres of space on the left and he centred for the unmarked van Nistelrooy to head home his 20th goal in his 24th competitive game for United from close range.

Newcastle thought they had equalised four minutes before the interval when Nolberto Solano headed home Robbie Elliott's cross, but referee Peter Jones ruled that the Peruvian had fouled his marker Silvestre.

The visitors kept up the pressure, though, and Rob Lee went close with a right-foot drive from just over 20 yards out.

Then just as they had done in the first half, United conjured up a goal out of almost nothing five minutes after the interval.

Silvestre cut in from the left and found Solskjaer just outside the Newcastle box and the Norwegian slipped the ball through to Paul Scholes, who fired home.

United then broke up field to score a third on 62 minutes to add further to Newcastle's sense of injustice.

Solskjaer played the ball inside for Keane to take it on the burst and the United skipper knocked it across the goal for Scholes to knock home his second of the night at the back post.

Alan Shearer gave Newcastle some hope on 68 minutes when he headed home from Elliott's left-wing cross.

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