Manchester City’s Shaun Goater dashed Manchester United’s hopes of drawing level with league leaders Arsenal, when he scored the equaliser in Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
It took Goater, 32, just nine seconds to score after he came on as a sub in place of recent signing Robbie Fowler. The goal, scored from a Shaun Wright-Phillips cross, levelled the scores after Ruud Van Nistelrooy had opened the scoring on the 18th minute from a Ryan Giggs pass.
Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, was disappointed with his team’s performance.
“We should have punished them on the counter-attack many times, though you have to give them credit for having a go,’ he said afterwards.
“I think we let our level drop this afternoon and it has cost us. It certainly feels like defeat. We allowed them back into, but City deserved it.”
Arsenal could also only manage a point as they eked out a high tempered 1-1 draw against 10-man Newcastle at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle manager, Bobby Robson, was furious about midfielder, Laurent Robert’s, controversial sending off on 58 minutes for standing in the way of a Dennis Bergkamp free kick.
“It was an extremely harsh decision. I don’t think you can see a player Bergkamp was trying to pass the ball to.”
Robert had earlier pulled Newcastle level on 53 minutes with a 25-yard drive after Thierry Henry had slotted home to give Arsenal the lead at the interval.
The results leave Arsenal at the top of the league on 57 points with Manchester United second 3 points behind and Newcastle in third on 49 points with a game in hand.
Elsewhere in the Premiership, crisis club Leeds, marked the return of Lee Bowyer to Elland Road with a 1-0 victory over West Ham, thanks to a Seth Johnson 20th minute strike.
The defeat leaves West Ham second from bottom one point ahead of Sunderland, who lost 4-1 away to Tottenham in a match that saw Teddy Sheringham score his 300th senior goal.
17th placed Bolton and 18th placed West Brom drew 1-1 while Fulham beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Loftus Road.
Fourth placed Chelsea had an impressive 3-1 away win over Birmingham City and Liverpool came back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Middlesbrough at Anfield.
The final two games saw Blackburn beat Southampton 1-0 and Charlton defeat fifth-placed Everton 2-1 at The Valley.