Newcastle United’s latest League Cup tilt has came to an end at the first hurdle, as they were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford. Goals from Anderson and Tom Cleverley did the damage, although Papiss Cisse’s first goal in eight games was something for Alan Pardew to smile about.

Cisse almost levelled the scores late on too, as he hit the woodwork with a stunning overhead kick.

Both managers fielded weakened sides, with Alex Ferguson choosing an inexperienced defence to cope with the front pair of Shola Ameobi and Haris Vuckic. They were protected by the returning Darren Fletcher, while Wayne Rooney started up front.

Rob Elliot was in goal for Newcastle – in place of Steve Harper – and was one of the bright sparks in a largely uninspiring performance from the visitors. James Tavernier also turned in a solid performance, although there were too many below par displays for the Geordies to ever seriously trouble the home side.

Newcastle had Eliot to thank early on in the first half, as Anderson burst through the visitors’ defence and faced the stopper one on one, only for the former Charlton man to turn over the shot with an instinctive palm.

The Geordies weren’t offering much in the final third, as they lacked the cutting edge normally provided by the likes of French pair Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa, who were both rested. The closest they came in the first half was when Tavernier wandered forward down the left flank before cutting inside and firing a shot narrowly past David De Gea’s post.

After a short spell of black and white pressure, the hosts broke away down the other end thanks to a stunning long range pass from Rooney. The England man picked out Danny Welbeck from 70 yards and the younger forward forced Elliot into another fine save, as he arrowed a shot towards the bottom corner.

The home side continued to pressure and look for a way past Elliot, although when they found one after 34 minutes, it wasn’t the way they wanted. The move of the match started when Javier Hernandez skinned Coloccini, and eventually slid a pass through for Cleverley, only for the midfielder to inexplicably fire wide.

It looked like there was to be no breakthrough for United, only for the deadlock to be smashed on the stroke of half time by Anderson. The Brazilian won a 50-50 with Dan Gosling and surged forward before rasping a 25-yard effort in off the post. It was almost the only way Elliot could have been beaten, such as the keeper’s form.

With neither manager making changes at half-time, a similar type of 45 minutes could have been expected in the second period. However, both sides tried to attack more and it made for a wide open half with chances for both sets of strikers.

First, Haris Vuckic almost levelled the scores when he jinked past Michael Keane in the area, only for his right foot shot to drift the wrong side of the far post.

With Newcastle threatening and Papiss Cisse readying himself to come on to try and pull the Geordies level, it was the home side who pulled further clear. Some neat play on the edge of the area between Cleverley and Welbeck finally led to the midfielder curling a neat effort past an unsighted Elliot and doubling Man United’s advantage.

As Cisse entered the fray alongside Shane Ferguson, the match looked beyond the Magpies. The double substitution paid instant dividends for Alan Pardew though, as Ferguson surged down the left before standing up a cross which Cisse couldn’t miss.

Four minutes after Cisse’s goal, Man United could have been out of sight when Rooney’s through ball found Hernandez, only for the Mexican striker to smash his shot back off the upright with no one in the middle to tap home.

Instead, Newcastle remained only a goal behind and almost had the equaliser in exquisite style. Elliot’s long kick was flicked on by Shola Ameobi and after controlling on his chest and thigh, Cisse struck a beautiful overhead kick which crashed back off the crossbar, with De Gea well beaten.

The ball striking the bar was the last serious action of the match, with only a tame effort by Dan Gosling further troubling either goalkeeper.

By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson