Pardew hails 'brave' ref call
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew insists the referee was right not to award Man Utd a late penalty on Tuesday.
Last Updated: 19/04/11 10:36pm
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew insists referee Lee Probert was right not to award Manchester United a late penalty at St James' Park on Tuesday night.
The clash was heading for a goalless draw when Javier Hernandez went down in the area under Danny Simpson's challenge in stoppage time, prompting United to call for a spot-kick.
But match official Probert was unmoved by their appeals and instead booked the young Mexican for diving, sealing the 0-0 stalemate.
Manager Pardew applauded the referee for his 'brave' decision, telling Sky Sports HD1: "I think Danny sticks a leg out, which is dangerous, but he didn't touch the guy and he definitely dived looking for it.
"Man United were pushing at the end, and with their last-minute goal history it could have been easy for (Probert) to give it.
"My heart sank a little bit because I think we deserved something from the game in terms of our work-rate and everything we put into the game and the start that we made, where we were the better side.
"I praise the referee because I think he was very brave there."
Pardew feels Newcastle were more deserving of a penalty when Peter Lovenkrands was brought down by Anderson in the 58th minute, but Probert was similarly indifferent.
"The more obvious penalty was Peter Lovenkrands'," added Pardew. "It was an absolute cert penalty, I can't believe he didn't give it.
"It was a story of two penalties - one definitely for us and one that wasn't for them."
Pardew was delighted with his side's performance, which saw them snatch a crucial point against the Premier League leaders to boost their survival hopes.
"We're very, very happy with the draw," he said. "The players have put in an effort you can only applaud and say fantastic performance from our team."
The Magpies came out with all guns blazing but faded towards the end, and Pardew admits the tempo of the match began to take its toll on his players.
"I think they were two teams committed to getting something out of the game," he added.
"Manchester United are a fantastic team. We were running out of legs a little bit.
"It starts giving you problems and we were hanging on, really, at the end."
Newcastle are now ninth in the table with 40 points, which is generally thought of as the safety mark for teams bidding to stay up.
And Pardew admits the draw has given his side a welcome mental boost, adding: "I think with the commitment we showed tonight and the points total we've got and the goal average we've got, that we're pretty much safe.
"But we want to finish high and do what's right and make sure we turn up and put in the same effort that we have against the potential champions."