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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 August, 2003, 12:58 GMT 13:58 UK
Scholes gives Man Utd victory
Ruud van Nistelrooy celebrates his goal
Van Nistelrooy celebrates his goal

Newcastle Utd 1-2 Man Utd

Paul Scholes was Newcastle United's tormentor again as Manchester United posted an ominous warning to their title rivals with victory at St James's Park.

Sir Alex Ferguson's Premiership champions responded in style after Newcastle captain Alan Shearer had given Sir Bobby Robson's side a first-half lead.

Ruud van Nistelrooy put United level just after the interval before Scholes - who scored a hat-trick in the 6-2 win at Newcastle last season - inflicted his curse on the Toon Army again to claim the three points.

It was a comeback witnessed at long-range by boss Ferguson, who was sent from the dug-out by referee Uriah Rennie after a bust-up with fourth official Jeff Winter in the first half.

23 mins: Sir Alex Ferguson is sent from the dug-out
25 mins: Shearer heads Newcastle United in front
51 mins: Van Nistelrooy puts Manchester United level
59 mins: Scholes gives Manchester United the lead

Manchester United should have taken the lead inside two minutes, when John O'Shea could only direct a point-blank header straight at Shay Given.

And the champions were cursing their luck after 20 minutes when Andy O'Brien clearly hauled back Ryan Giggs as he raced clear - only for referee Rennie to ignore their appeals.

It was enough to reduce boss Ferguson to a rage on the touchline, and after an altercation with fourth official Winter, he was sent to the stands by Rennie.

Ferguson's mood was not improved when Newcastle took the lead five minutes later.

Laurent Robert's free-kick was powered past goalkeeper Tim Howard by Shearer, despite claims he had pushed Mikael Silvestre.

Newcastle held out for the remainder of the first 45 minutes, but inevitably it was Van Nistelrooy who put Manchester United level six minutes after the break.

He had already missed one clear chance, but made no mistake at the second time of asking when he was released by Roy Keane's through ball.

Sir Alex Ferguson was sent from the dug-out
Ferguson is sent from the dug-out

And as memories of last season's St James's Park thrashing appeared to haunt Newcastle again, Scholes put the visitors ahead after 59 minutes.

Man-of-the match Keane's wicked cross evaded the Newcastle defence and Scholes chested home at the far post.

As Newcastle struggled to restore equality, Ferguson played his trump card with 14 minutes left, sending on Portuguese wonder boy Ronaldo for the tiring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Newcastle's only threat came deep into injury-time when Rio Ferdinand's tackle denied substitute Michael Chopra, and the champions had claimed a deserved three points.

Newcastle: Given, Griffin, O'Brien, Bramble, Hughes, Robert (Viana 72), Dyer, Speed, Bowyer (Jenas 72), Shearer, Ameobi (Chopra 72).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Bernard.

Booked: Griffin, Bramble.

Man Utd: Howard, Phil Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea, Keane, Djemba-Djemba, Solskjaer (Ronaldo 77), Scholes, van Nistelrooy, Giggs (Forlan 90).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Kleberson, Fletcher.

Booked: Solskjaer, van Nistelrooy.

Attendance: 52,165

Referee: U Rennie (S Yorkshire).

Man Utd's Tim Howard
"We had most of the game"

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