Hernandez rescues United
Javier Hernandez netted a 90th-minute winner to give Manchester United the spoils as they fought back three times from a goal down to edge out a plucky Newcastle side 4-3 in an enthralling encounter at Old Trafford.
Hernandez poked home to break Newcastle's hearts as United stretched their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to seven points.
But this was far from a vintage performance as Newcastle took the lead three times, through James Perch's tap-in, Jonny Evans' controversial own goal and Papiss Cisse's fine finish only to be pegged back on each occasion by Evans, Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie - before Hernandez settled proceedings.
It was hard luck on Newcastle, who have already endured their fair share of malaise this season, but took the lead in the fourth minute when Perch tapped in after United goalkeeper David de Gea could only meekly parry Demba Ba's effort.
With the rain hammering down, De Gea could be given the benefit of the doubt but United fought back when Evans slotted into an empty net after Hernandez was denied by visiting keeper Tim Krul in the 25th minute.
Three minutes later Evans went from hero to villain when he put Danny Simpson's low cross-shot into his own net and although the linesman had flagged Cisse offside, the goal was allowed to stand due to the Senegal striker's 'non-active' role.
The decision drew the ire from United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who remonstrated with referee Mike Dean, linesman Jake Collin and the fourth official just before the start of the second half.
But he would see his side draw level just before the hour mark when Evra's low shot rocketed into the bottom corner.
The visitors refused to lie down, however, and former United winger Gabriel Obertan streaked down the left before cutting it back to Cisse and he blazed past De Gea at his near post in the 68th minute.
Newcastle held this lead for three minutes before Van Persie drove in his 16th goal of the season after Krul had saved his initial shot.
Now Ferguson and Alan Pardew could only stand on the touchline and watch as this breathless, chaotic game headed for its conclusion.
United fury at a handball claim against Fabricio Coloccini that went unheeded was replaced by anguish as Van Persie and Hernandez missed the target, the latter from a free header.
De Gea got away with a near-calamitous misjudgement when he allowed Sammy Ameobi's shot to roll past him, thinking it was going wide, only for it to hit a post and rebound straight back.
But Hernandez atoned for his earlier miss and settled this breathless clash with a lovely half-volley from Michael Carrick's ball over the top.