Tag Archives: winner

Track Cycling World Championships: Jason Kenny wins keirin and Simon Yates wins points race

Riding his luck! Kenny wins world keirin title in Minsk after being reinstated into final

By
Matt Mcgeehan, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

18:23 GMT, 22 February 2013

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UPDATED:

18:48 GMT, 22 February 2013

Three-time Olympic champion Jason Kenny won gold in the men's keirin final on day three of the Track Cycling World Championships in Minsk as Great Britain claimed victory in successive events.

After Simon Yates won the men's points race on his senior World Championships debut, Kenny succeeded Sir Chris Hoy as world keirin champion to claim Britain's third gold of the first World Championships on the road to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 24-year-old from Bolton was second entering the final lap and rounded Maximilian Levy to triumph. The German was second, with Holland's Matthijs Buchli third.

Fortune: Kenny finished fourth in the semi-final but heat winner Francois Pervis was relegated

Fortune: Kenny finished fourth in the semi-final but heat winner Francois Pervis was relegated

It is his second World Championships
title, but first won on the bike after the 2011 sprint crown was awarded
retrospectively when Gregory Bauge was stripped of the prize for an
anti-doping infringement.

Kenny's win came the hard route.

In an event taking place in the
absence of defending world champion and Olympic gold medal winner Hoy,
who is taking a sabbatical as he weighs up his future, Britain were
represented by Kenny and Matt Crampton.

The duo were drawn together in the first heat and fell into the repechage after failing to finish in the first two.

Only one advanced and Kenny did so, eliminating Crampton in the process.

Kenny received a reprieve to advance
to the final after finishing fourth in his semi-final following a photo
finish, with only three progressing.

However, France's Francois Pervis was
relegated by officials for impeding a rider on the inside and the Briton
progressed as the third-placed rider behind Australian duo Andrew
Taylor and Scott Sunderland.

The Lancastrian found his form in the final and won with aplomb.

Meanwhile, Yates marked his senior Track Cycling World Championships debut with a stunning gold in the men's points race.

The 20-year-old from Bury rode maturely and impressively throughout the 160-lap (40-kilometre) event, which features 16 sprints, to claim a sensational victory in an event which could return to the Olympics in 2016.

He accumulated 35 points, to win by one from Eloy Teruel Rovira of Spain, with Russia's Kirill Sveshnikov third on 30 points.

Gold: Britain's Simon Yates celebrates after winning the points race in Minsk

Gold: Britain's Simon Yates celebrates after winning the points race in Minsk

Gold: Britain's Simon Yates celebrates after winning the points race in Minsk

Yates was in contention throughout but made his move late. He raced for one point at the 14th sprint and continued his effort to join the lead group, distancing himself from his rivals.

Five points in the penultimate sprint took Yates to within one point of the lead, held by Spain's Teruel Rovira. The lead group were caught with six-and-a-half laps to go, with Yates' main rivals brought back to the bunch.

But the Briton had the skill and speed to claim third on the final sprint to finish with a world champion's rainbow jersey at the first attempt.

It was a ride which will have left his coach Chris Newton impressed. Newton won bronze in the points race in Beijing in 2008 before the event was dropped from the Olympic programme.

Cycling: Mark Cavendish wins Tour of Qatar

Golden boy Cavendish sprints home to glory with Tour of Qatar triumph

PUBLISHED:

15:31 GMT, 8 February 2013

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UPDATED:

16:11 GMT, 8 February 2013

Mark Cavendish sealed overall victory at the Tour of Qatar with a fourth win in a row.

The 27-year-old from the Isle of Man triumphed on the sixth and final stage, the 116-kilometre route from Sealine Beach Resort to Doha Corniche to claim the race winner's golden jersey with a second stage race success of his career.

'I'm over the moon,' Cavendish said.

Six of the best: Former team Sky cyclist Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the line in stage six of the Tour of Qatar

Six of the best: Former team Sky cyclist Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the line in stage six of the Tour of Qatar

Six of the best: Former team Sky cyclist Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the line in stage six of the Tour of Qatar

'We come here every year almost guaranteed an overall victory with Tom Boonen but he's recovering from an injury. So it put a little bit of pressure on me and I was a bit nervous.

'But I'm really happy to get the win. The guys worked incredible here. They really looked after me so, so well here and delivered every single day.

'I am so happy and proud I can bring it home again for the team.

Over the moon: Cavendish has enjoyed a new lease of life since joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep

Over the moon: Cavendish has enjoyed a new lease of life since joining Omega Pharma-QuickStep

'We've won the Tour of Qatar six times, and I don't know how many stages, so I am happy to be a part of that.'

It was a fifth win of the season for Cavendish to fully justify his close-season move from Team Sky to Omega Pharma-QuickStep.

The 10-second bonus for the stage win saw Cavendish triumph by 25 seconds from American Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing).

Golden boy: Cavendish lights up the peloton in the golden jersey

Golden boy: Cavendish lights up the peloton in the golden jersey

Golden boy: Cavendish lights up the peloton in the golden jersey

Rio Ferdinand must be recalled by England – Neil Ashton

Neil Ashton: Cahill's slip against Brazil shows Hodgson needs Ferdinand at the heart of England's defence

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

00:07 GMT, 7 February 2013

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UPDATED:

01:39 GMT, 7 February 2013

High up in the stands at Wembley, the best available central defender in the country left his calling card. Rio Ferdinand is itching to play for England again, tweeting in advance of Brazil’s visit that he was on his way to north-west London.

Ferdinand will never give up hope, and Gary Cahill’s elementary mistake at the start of the second half is the reason why.

This is the scenario unfolding for England’s head coach Roy Hodgson as he continues to hide behind the ‘footballing reasons’ for Ferdinand’s continued exclusion. Cahill is a good defender, but not good enough at the very highest level.

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand

Out in the cold: Rio Ferdinand has not played for England since the draw with Switzerland last June

He was brutally exposed when his failure to complete a pass allowed Fred, on as a substitute, to equalise at the start of the second half.

There will have been reminders from Hodgson at half-time for England to keep their composure after Wayne Rooney’s sweetly taken goal put them in front. Instead the mistake by Cahill is a cause for concern, an alarming moment for a player with a Champions League winner’s medal.

Until that moment he had done well enough, twice snuffing out the threat of Neymar in the first half as the Brazilian worried England’s defence.

At 34, Ferdinand is still good enough to represent his country. Frank Lampard, who scored after coming on in the second half, is the same age. Lampard has been assured that he will be part of Hodgson’s squad if England get through Group H and board the plane to Brazil next summer.

By then he will be nearly 36 and the assumption is that the remaining members of the Golden Generation will call it a day after the World Cup.

Gutted: Gary Cahill is dejected after his mistake allowed Fred to equalise for Brazil against England (below)

Gutted: Gary Cahill is dejected after his mistake allowed Fred to equalise for Brazil against England (below)

Fred scores against England

Lampard has made 17 Barclays Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season, but if Hodgson is number crunching then Ferdinand represents full value as well. The Manchester United defender has started 19 games for the club in the Premier League and come on as a substitute in one other.

He is playing, unquestionably, for the best team in the country and his selection, fitness permitting, against Real Madrid next week is automatic.

That is a Champions League tie, a second-round first-leg clash in the Bernabeu where Cristiano Ronaldo and Co will take some beating.

Fergie always turns to Ferdinand in big games, just as he has against Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea.

In command: Ferdinand has impressed in defence for Manchester United this season

In command: Ferdinand has impressed in defence for Manchester United this season

After his injury just days before the start of the 2010 World Cup, Ferdinand made only a handful of appearances under Fabio Capello the following season.

Hodgson has never picked him in a squad, preferring John Terry at the heart of his defence until he made the surprise decision to retire.

Recalling Ferdinand would provide some mild embarrassment for Hodgson, but ending the defender’s international career on the Tube is way out in front when it comes to wincing.

England have important games next month, particularly when they travel to Montenegro for a vital World Cup qualifier.

Those are the games that really count at international level, true tests for the top players.

Italy's Franco Baresi

Paolo Maldini

Examples: Franco Baresi (left) and Paolo Maldini both continued into their thirties at international level

Some of the great defenders, Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi among them, have been to World Cups when they were well past their prime.

Simply because they were 34 at the time didn’t make them bad players and that is something Hodgson should consider carefully when he selects his squad next month.

Beyond that, Hodgson hopes this team will be heading for Brazil and the World Cup finals.
To do well, he will need England’s best players with him.

Bradley Wiggins: Liar Lance Armstrong made me so glad I"m clean

Liar Lance made me so glad I'm clean, says Tour de France winner Wiggins

By
Richard Moore

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

02:38 GMT, 25 January 2013

Sir Bradley Wiggins has revealed how
watching Lance Armstrong's drug confession left him feeling angry, sad
and emotional – but relieved that he will never have to tell his son his
father doped to win the Tour de France.

'I wasn't going to watch it,' said
Wiggins last night, speaking at the Team Sky training camp in Majorca.
'I was determined not to watch it. But then I got home and I watched it
with my seven-year-old son Ben.

'Those initial six questions, the yes-no answers, watching him suddenly cave in after all those years of lying so convincingly . . . there was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness. I was slightly emotional as well. It was difficult to watch. My wife couldn't watch it. She walked out the room.

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

'It was heartbreaking in some respects for the sport, but then the anger kicks in,' Wiggins continued. 'You're thinking, “What a ****ing a******e”.

'Then I've got to explain to my son what it's all about, that he has won the same race his dad has won. But by the end of the hour and a half I had the best feeling in the world.'

It was a feeling of relief and smugness, said Wiggins, who last year became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

Confession: Lance Armstrong admitted to doping during his interviews with Oprah Winfrey

Confession: Lance Armstrong admitted to doping during his interviews with Oprah Winfrey

He said: 'When Armstrong started welling up talking about his 13-year-old son asking him what it was all about . . . I never have to have that conversation with my own son. I can tell him his father's won the Tour de France clean and so there was an element of being quite smug.

'By the end, I thought, “You deserve everything you get”, and I felt no sympathy for him at all.

Meet the team: Wiggins with Josh Edmondson and Chris Froome in Mallorca

Meet the team: Wiggins with Josh Edmondson and Chris Froome in Mallorca

Training: Wiggins rides in Port Alcudia

Training: Wiggins rides in Port Alcudia

'I was a fan of Lance. I watched him
win the world championships in 1993 when I was 13, and when he came back
from cancer and won the Tour de France in 1999 I was 19, on the British
track programme, and that was so inspirational.

'And then I never really raced with him in his prime. I raced him at
the Tour when he came back in 2009 and I was fourth and he was third.'

Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey that he was clean in that comeback Tour,
though the US Anti-Doping Agency put the chances of him not doping that
year at 'one in a million'. Wiggins concurs. 'When he said he was upset
about USADA's claim that he doped in 2009 and 2010, I thought, you lying
b*****d,' he said.

'I can still remember going toe-to-toe with him, watching his body language and comparing the man I saw at the top of Verbier on stage 15 to the man I saw at the top of Mont Ventoux on stage 20 a week later, when we were in dope control together. It wasn't the same bike rider.

'I don't believe anything that comes out the guy's mouth any more.'

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford added that Armstrong's confession had put cycling's credibility in the 'last chance saloon'.

He said: 'The sport must never go back to the place it was in the past. Fans must genuinely trust the results.'

Australian Open 2013: Maria Sharapova beats Kirsten Flipkens 6-1, 6-0

Maria's in love again: Sharapova into quarter final after dropping just one game to Flipkens

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

06:46 GMT, 20 January 2013

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UPDATED:

06:53 GMT, 20 January 2013

Maria Sharapova took a little bit of time to warm up, but continued her progress through the Australian Open with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens.

Sharapova had been the most dominant player in the women's draw so far, recording successive 6-0 6-0 victories in the first two rounds before she dispatched seven times grand slam winner Venus Williams with contemptuous ease in the third round.

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova celebrates after beating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins

From Russia with love: Maria Sharapova celebrates after beating Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins

In top form: Sharapova won in straight sets

In top form: Sharapova won in straight sets

The second seed, however, took time to get into her match against the 27-year-old Flipkens and while she won the first set 6-1, it took 43 minutes which demonstrated how difficult she found the tenacious Belgian to put away.

Sharapova, however, cranked into gear in the second set to clinch it in 25 minutes and set up a quarter-final against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova after the 19th-seed dispatched fifth seed Angelique Kerber 7-5 6-4.

Sharapova said: 'I'm certainly happy to be playing this well but it's the quarter-finals and it only gets tougher from here.'

Clint Hill warns QPR players to fight or leave club

QPR veteran Hill warns spineless players: If you don't want to fight, get out now

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 29 December 2012

Queens Park Rangers defender Clint Hill has laid bare the dressing-room tensions at the Premier League’s bottom club ahead of the team’s crucial clash against Liverpool.

Hill revealed the discontent that the players who helped the club win promotion to the top flight felt when they were cast aside by previous managers Neil Warnock and Mark Hughes for a series of big-name signings, most of whom have failed to make any real impact.

And the 34-year-old veteran questioned whether the club’s imports had the desire to fight for Premier League survival.

Back in favour: Clint Hill (left) was overlooked by Mark Hughes at QPR

Back in favour: Clint Hill (left) was overlooked by Mark Hughes at QPR

‘Of course, I was hurt when I was dropped,’ said Hill. ‘And I’m not the only one. There were another 10 or 11 players who had done well for this club, bringing them up from the Championship. To see players who had fought for everything [discarded] is hard to take. We’re not nave enough to think that we didn’t need change, it’s just how much change.’

QPR have won just one game all season and are bottom of the table with 10 points. With games against Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham looming, they are likely to remain rooted at the bottom well into 2013.

New manager Harry Redknapp has already lambasted some of his best-paid players, claiming they are not giving value for money, and he fined Jose Bosingwa, a Champions League winner with Porto and Chelsea, 100,000 for refusing to sit on the bench for the recent clash against Fulham.

Hill, made captain by Redknapp for the game against West Bromwich Albion when Ryan Nelsen was absent, backs the boss’s stance on Bosingwa.

Bad books: Jose Bosingwa (left) was fined for refusing to be a substitute

Bad books: Jose Bosingwa (left) was fined for refusing to be a substitute

Hill said: ‘If you don’t want to go on the bench, then do you want to be here Do you want to fight Do you want to be in the scrap with your team-mates

‘We’ve all been on the bench, we’ve all been dropped, we’ve all been told we can go. But we all earn good money. If you can’t sit on the bench, there has got to be something wrong.
‘You want to be in this together. You want people next to you fighting for the cause. If you can’t sit on the bench and support the lads, then what are you doing here

‘We’ve got to be together and up for the fight. If you don’t fancy it, then January is round the corner, so off you go!’

Redknapp’s punishment of Bosingwa revealed the full-back’s 50,000-a-week wages and exposed the gulf in earnings between new signings and the pre-Premier League team. But Hill insists money is not an issue.

‘If you can get that money, then good for you,’ he said. ‘I’m more anxious about what players do on the pitch.’

Too much, too soon: Mark Hughes signed a whole new team in summer

Too much, too soon: Mark Hughes signed a whole new team in summer

The first wave of signings came when current owner Tony Fernandes bought the club in August 2011, with Joey Barton, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Armand Traore, Luke Young and Anton Ferdinand soon arriving.

When Warnock was sacked last January, Hughes brought in Nedum Onuoha, Samba Diakite, Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse during the transfer window, before almost an entire team was signed in the summer. Hughes bought Bosingwa and Nelsen along with Andy Johnson, Park Ji-sung, Esteban Granero, Rob Green, Julio Cesar, Junior Hoilett and Stephane Mbia, with Fabio Da Silva arriving on loan.

Of these, only Nelsen, now club captain, is an unqualified success. QPR also paid almost 7million in agents’ fees, the third highest in the Premier League behind Liverpool and Manchester City.

Hill suggests Hughes tried to build a new side too quickly. ‘When you look at the other teams that came up with us, Swansea and Norwich, they’ve done it gradually and brought big players in when they needed it,’ he said.

Struggling: Esteban Granero (right) has failed to live up to his billing at QPR

Struggling: Esteban Granero (right) has failed to live up to his billing at QPR

‘The players who came up from the Championship weren’t given enough trust. I think they could have done a job in this League. But all managers have their own transfer policies.’

Hill was voted player of the season by fans and players in 2011-12 but thought he would be sold on until Redknapp arrived five weeks ago and restored him along with Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackie from the promotion team.

Hill added: ‘I’m 34 and I’ve played most of my career in the lower leagues. You’re talking about a Champions League winner [Bosingwa] here and people who have won the Premier League and FA Cups. You hope there’s a desire within them. We need that as a team, as a unit. Everyone is frustrated and everyone is different. But it has to be hurting you to be bottom and to have won one game. If it isn’t, I’ve got to question them.’

Ronaldinho to make film with Blackburn owners Venky"s

Venky's always said they'd get Ronaldinho… and now they've finally signed him up! (Sorry Blackburn fans, it's just for a movie)

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UPDATED:

21:40 GMT, 28 December 2012

Blackburn Rovers owners Venky's persuaded Ronaldinho to put pen to, er, ball when he arrived in India to promote his new film.

The Brazilian World Cup winner has signed up with their film arm to make Ronaldinho versus Aliens, an animation inspired by Space Jam, which starred Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny.

The identity of the cartoon superstar to work with Ronaldinho is still a secret but if Venky’s, who are also poultry packers, haven’t signed up Rocky from Chicken Run, they’re missing a trick.

Ronaldinho was one of Venky's most ambitious transfer targets when they took over at Ewood Park in 2010, and now they've finally got their man. It's a shame for Rovers fans that he won't be playing any football, however.

This had better not be a Blackburn contract... Ronaldinho (second left) pens an autograph on Friday

This had better not be a Blackburn contract… Ronaldinho (second left) pens an autograph on Friday

Meanwhile, the appointment of Blackburn's new coaching team is on hold as a simmering boardroom battle at Ewood Park threatens to escalate into all-out civil war.

The club's global advisor Shebby Singh and managing director Derek Shaw have been at odds since Singh's arrival in the summer, and Shaw has flown to India to urge the club's owners Venky's to ditch the flamboyant Malaysian following this week's sacking of manager Henning Berg.

Toon idol: The Brazilian star unveils a poster publicising his movie made with Blackburn's owners

Toon idol: The Brazilian star unveils a poster publicising his movie made with Blackburn's owners

Toon idol: The Brazilian star unveils a poster publicising his movie made with Blackburn's owners

Singh is said to be unperturbed by events but the plan to install Kevin MacDonald as head coach alongside Judan Ali cannot proceed without Shaw approving the contracts.

Ali was at the club's Brockhall training ground on Friday and MacDonald expects to join him even though he is understood to have reservations about the arrangement.

Ali, who is set to become English football's first British Asian coach, is better known for his role in a Bollywood movie.

Manchester City face Norwich after scoring 11 goals against them last season

Cheer up City, you had a grand old time against Norwich last year

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UPDATED:

16:57 GMT, 28 December 2012

If anything can rekindle the memories for Manchester City fans of their glorious title-winning campaign last season, it has to be the 6-1 away win… at Carrow Road!

Mancini’s men repeated their famous drubbing of Manchester United at Old Trafford in October by racking up another half a dozen goals in East Anglia in April.

It took City’s tally against Norwich to 11 goals in two games after a 5-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in December, at which point they were five points clear of United.

Awesome: Tevez scored a hat-trick at Carrow Road last year

Awesome: Tevez scored a hat-trick at Carrow Road last year

Forgiven: The Argentine fell out with Mancini during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich

Forgiven: The Argentine fell out with Mancini during a Champions League match against Bayern Munich

Good job: It was the second 6-1 win on the road for City last season

Good job: It was the second 6-1 win on the road for City last season

Hole in one: Tevez celebrates scoring with a golf swing

Hole in one: Tevez celebrates scoring with a golf swing

Things just haven’t clicked for the champions this season and their hopes of back-to-back titles are hanging by a thread as they trail United by seven points.

But City are also out of Europe altogether and have found goals hard to come by as they’ve netted just 34 goals in comparison to 53 at the same stage last season.

It took an injury-time winner from Gareth Barry last Saturday to beat Reading, the team with the worst defence in the league, before they fired blanks in their Boxing Day defeat to Sunderland.

But a visit to Carrow Road might be just what the doctor ordered for City fans after Carlos Tevez’s hat-trick, two goals from Sergio Aguero and a late strike from Adam Johnson, who scored the winner against City on Boxing Day, saw them to a massive win on their way to the Premier League crown last term.

Unstoppable: Tevez and Argentine partner Aguero scored five goals

Unstoppable: Tevez and Argentine partner Aguero scored five goals

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City celebrates scoring

Carlos Tevez of Manchester City celebrates scoring

Having fun Mancini was all smiles during his team's dominant performance

Having fun Mancini was all smiles during his team's dominant performance

Can we play you every week City also hammered Norwich 5-1 at the Etihad

Can we play you every week City also hammered Norwich 5-1 at the Etihad

Edgar Davids in sole charge of Barnet after Mark Robson is sacked

Over to you, Edgar: Holland legend Davids in sole charge of Barnet after Robson is axed

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UPDATED:

15:41 GMT, 28 December 2012

Edgar Davids has been handed control of League Two Barnet after Mark Robson was sacked by the club today.

The former Holland international remains the club's Head Coach, and is now in sole charge of first team affairs.

The 39-year-old former Champions League winner was given the number 38 shirt after joining Underhill in October and replaces Robson who only arrived at the club in June this year.

I'm in charge: Davids will be responsible for all first-team matters after Robson was sacked

I'm in charge: Davids will be responsible for all first-team matters after Robson was sacked

A club statement read: 'Barnet FC can today confirm that Mark Robson has left his duties as Joint Head Coach at the club.

'It was felt that clarification was
required regarding the coaching responsibilities at the club and to this
end it was agreed that Mark should leave with immediate effect.

'Edgar Davids will continue in his role as Head Coach and will take full responsibility for all first team footballing matters.

'The club would like to thank Mark for all his efforts and hard work and wish him the very best for the future.'

Manchester United won eight Premier League matches from losing positions

Comeback Kings! Fergie's table toppers have won EIGHT matches from losing positions in charge for the title

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UPDATED:

11:41 GMT, 27 December 2012

Sir Matt Busby’s attacking ethos has long been a tradition at Old Trafford, much like the rain and good music. ‘Just go out and play,’ he told his team.

But never more than during this season has that mentality been so captivatingly exhibited. Nine times Manchester United have gone behind in the Barclays Premier League. Eight times they have subsequently tasted victory.

It is a remarkable run which has earned Sir Alex Ferguson’s side 24 points from losing positions.

Perilous defending has time and again been seen and raised by United’s swashbuckling attack.

Yesterday’s 4-3 win over Newcastle was the latest example and means at halfway United, despite conceding 28 goals (more than in entire title-winning campaigns of seasons past), sit seven points clear at the top. Here, Sportsmail details all those comeback wins.

Saviour: United celebrate Hernandez's injury-time winner against Newcastle

Saviour: United celebrate Hernandez's injury-time winner against Newcastle

August 25 United 3-2 Fulham

Damien Duff took advantage of slack marking to turn Bryan Ruiz’s clever free-kick past David De Gea to give Fulham a third-minute lead. But Robin van Persie showed his class on his first United start by turning Patrice Evra’s cross beyond Mark Schwarzer in brilliant fashion on the volley. Shinji Kagawa and Rafael put United in front by halftime before a Nemanja Vidic own goal led to nervy late scenes.

New boy: Summer signing Kagawa scores past Schwarzer

New boy: Summer signing Kagawa scores past Schwarzer

September 2 Southampton 2-3 United

A stunning late blitz courtesy of United’s flying Dutchman turned a loss into victory in the final three minutes. Van Persie equalised Rickie Lambert’s opener but then missed a penalty by dinking it after Morgan Schneiderlin had headed the hosts back in front. United seemed doomed but an 87th minute leveller and stoppage time winner from the 29-year-old secured a hat-trick and three points.

Late but great: Van Persie rescued United at Southampton with two late goals

Late but great: Van Persie rescued United at Southampton with two late goals

September 23 Liverpool 1-2 United

An ambush at Anfield. United played dreadfully but emerged from the home of their arch rivals with a precious win. Jonjo Shelvey was harshly dismissed for a lunge on Jonny Evans in the first half but Liverpool roused and Steven Gerrard volleyed them in front. Rafael scored a delightful leveller and Van Persie made no mistake from the spot nine minutes from time after a foul on Antonio Valencia.

Van the man: Van Persie converts a penalty as United won 2-1 at Anfield

Van the man: Van Persie converts a penalty as United won 2-1 at Anfield

October 20 United 4-2 Stoke

Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick (of sorts) to see off Stoke. The England striker nodded the visitors in front with an own goal on 11 minutes but quickly atoned with a header at the right end to equalise. Van Persie and Danny Welbeck eased United ahead but Michael Kightly again exposed their defensive frailties to make it 3-2. Rooney grabbed his ‘third’ goal of the game to settle flutters.

Comeback: United beat Stoke 4-2 at Old Trafford having trailed through a Rooney own-goal

Comeback: United beat Stoke 4-2 at Old Trafford having trailed through a Rooney own-goal

November 10 Aston Villa 2-3 United

Javier Hernandez produced the alchemy at Villa Park in another gold-standard comeback display. It is the only time United have won after falling behind by two goals. Christian Benteke beasted Chris Smalling and Andreas Weimann netted a brace to send the home crowd delirious. But Little Pea, on as a substitute, turned the game, scoring twice and seeing another shot diverted in by Ron Vlaar.

Chicharito: Hernandez scored two goals at Villa Park as United recovered from 2-0 down

Chicharito: Hernandez scored two goals at Villa Park as United recovered from 2-0 down

November 24 United 3-1 QPR

As United comebacks go, this was a rather mundane affair. In fact, there would have been a surprise if they hadn’t returned Jamie Mackie’s 52nd minute opener with interest. Harry Redknapp watched from the stands as his new side succumbed to a second-half barrage from Evans, Darren Fletcher and Hernandez. It was Fletcher’s first league start in more than a year after serious illness.

Flying Scot: Fletcher scored as United saw off Harry Redknapp's new team QPR

Flying Scot: Fletcher scored as United saw off Harry Redknapp's new team QPR

December 1 Reading 3-4 United

A completely mad evening at the Madejski. Hal Robson-Kanu lit the fuse of a dynamite opening half with a goal in the eighth minute. Just 26 minutes later it was 4-3 to the visitors. Anderson drilled a finish: 1-1. Rooney converted a penalty: 1-2. Adam Le Fondre nodded in: 2-2. Sean Morrison did likewise: 3-2. Rooney got his second: 3-3. Van Persie found a winner: 4-3. The players seemed shell-chocked in the second period and no further craziness followed.

Crazy: United prevailed at the Madejski in a match that saw seven first-half goals

Crazy: United prevailed at the Madejski in a match that saw seven first-half goals

December 26 United 4-3 Newcastle

A Boxing Day bonanza with United plucking another type of comeback from their vast repertoire, this time finding a way to win after falling behind three times. Evans became the second United player to score at both ends in a game by turning in Danny Simpson’s cross after he had equalised James Perch’s opener. Evra, Papiss Cisse and Van Persie scored before Hernandez found another last minute winner.

Little Pea: Hernandez struck an injury-time winner as United beat Newcastle 4-3 on Boxing Day

Little Pea: Hernandez struck an injury-time winner as United beat Newcastle 4-3 on Boxing Day

P.S. Let’s not forget the two games United have let a two goal lead slip only to win late on. It needed resilience of a different kind to strike back from losing comfortable margins at both Chelsea and City and claim all three points on each occasion. Surely vital victories in the final reckoning.