Hernandez lands knockout blow as United win 4-3
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Javier Hernandez's injury-time goal on Wednesday gave Manchester United a 4-3 win over Newcastle and a seven-point lead in the Premier League following Man City's loss. United trailed three times at Old Trafford before Hernandez's header completed the comeback and ensured the 19-time champions will enter 2013 with a sizable lead over their Manchester rivals after City's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland.
Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra and Robin van Persie all equalised for United after strikes from James Perch and Papiss Cisse plus an own goal from Evans had put Newcastle in front in a match played in driving rain and featuring several contentious decisions. Evans' own goal was awarded despite the linesman raising his flag for an offside infringement by Cisse. Seven months after winning the Premier League with Manchester City, Adam Johnson inflicted a blow to his former club's title defense by clinching a 1-0 victory for Sunderland on Wednesday.
The England winger, who was considered surplus to requirements at City in the offseason, embarrassed former teammate Joe Hart with a dipping strike in the 53rd minute that beat the goalkeeper at the near post. The setback left second-place City seven points behind leader Manchester United at the season's halfway point.
Clean sheet for Chelsea
Chelsea ended Norwich's five-game home unbeaten run in the Premier League with a solid if unspectacular 1-0 victory Wednesday at Carrow Road. Juan Mata scored the only goal of the game in the 38th minute when he placed a ball from Emboaba Oscar in the bottom right corner of Mark Bunn's goal. Norwich, which saw its 10-game unbeaten run in the league come to an end against West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, drops to 11th place in the table with 25 points.
Reading secured a 0-0 draw against Swansea at the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday to move off the bottom of the Premier League table. The home side appeared to have taken the lead at the midway point of the second half but the goal was called back for a handball by Adam Le Fondre, who was subsequently booked. Swansea had joint top Premier League scorer Michu limp off late in the second half. Reading, which has conceded 18 goals in the last seven league games at home, leapfrogged QPR and moved up to 19th in the table with 10 points. Swansea moved up to ninth with 25 points.