Updated: United move further clear after thrilling win

Photo: Martin Rickett, PA Wire

Photo: Martin Rickett, PA Wire

Manchester United extended their lead at the Barclays Premier League summit to seven points following a controversial and thrilling 4-3 victory over Newcastle at Old Trafford.

Javier Hernandez struck a 91st-minute half-volley to snatch all three points after second-half goals from Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie twice pulled the Red Devils level, sandwiching a fine finish from Papiss Cisse.

James Perch's fifth-minute opener for Newcastle, scored following poor keeping from David de Gea, was cancelled out when Jonny Evans stabbed home from close range.

Confusion shrouded Newcastle's second, which was initially disallowed for offside against Cisse after Evans had directed the ball into his own net.

But having ruled out the goal, referee Mike Dean overturned his own decision after consulting the linesman as Cisse had not connected with the ball.

Furious United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, believing that Cisse had interfered with play due to his positioning, demonstrated to the officials before the second half began, but was soon comforted by Evra's equaliser.

Champions Manchester City slipped back in the title race after losing 1-0 at Sunderland.

Adam Johnson was on target against his former club, helped by a weak save from Joe Hart, who was overshadowed by the heroics of Simon Mignolet in Sunderland's goal.

Chelsea capitalised on the ground lost by City by dispatching Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road thanks to a superb finish from Juan Mata with Oscar supplying the ammunition. The Blues, in third place, now trail City by just four points.

QPR slipped to the second defeat of Harry Redknapp's reign with their 2-1 loss to West Brom dumping them at the foot of the table.

Chris Brunt was on target from 30 yards with a first-time shot to nudge the Baggies ahead in a delayed kick-off at Loftus Road before keeper Rob Green tipped the ball into his own net while under pressure from Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Stephane Mbia set up Djibril Cisse as QPR pulled one back and they should have had an injury-time penalty when Liam Ridgewell handled the ball as they dominated the closing minutes.

Rickie Lambert struck an 86th-minute penalty to secure Southampton a vital point in a 1-1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Dimitar Berbatov gave Fulham the lead in a tight match after pouncing from close range when Kelvin Davis failed to deal with a cross by Sascha Riether.

But Chris Baird then handled the ball and Lambert rifled an unstoppable spot-kick past Mark Schwarzer.

Reading piled on the pressure in the second half against Swansea but had to settle for a goalless draw with Adam Le Fondre prevented by a last-gasp header from Chico Flores.

The point enabled them to swap places with QPR, climbing to 19th.

It took a significant deflection for Everton to break the deadlock in a 2-1 victory over Wigan at Goodison with Leon Osman's shot connecting with Gary Caldwell before finding the net.

Wigan had a strong penalty claim after Shaun Maloney was felled by Osman, but referee Lee Mason was unmoved and Phil Jagielka produced a second-half header before Arouna Kone pulled one back for the Latics.

In the evening kick-off, two goals from Jonathan Walters helped Stoke come from behind to claim a 3-1 win over Liverpool, who are still looking for their first Premier League win at the Britannia Stadium.

The Reds took a second minute lead thanks to Steven Gerrard's penalty after Luis Suarez had been pulled back by Ryan Shawcross.

But the Potters hit back, with Walters and Jones netting in the fifth and 12th minutes respectively, and the former settled matters shortly after half-time with a lovely volley past Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina.


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