DANNY Simpson compared his goal-line heroics at the weekend to scoring at his beloved Old Trafford.
Newcastle United claimed a valuable point at Manchester United on Saturday.
While there were crucial interventions from Tim Krul and Steven Taylor, none was more important than Simpson’s stretching stop with three minutes remaining.
The Manchester-born full-back just got a toe to Javier Hernández’s goal-bound header as the hosts pushed for a winner against ten-man Newcastle.
For the lifelong Red Devils fan and former player, it was the equivalent of finding the net.
He said: “I don’t score many goals so this is probably the closest I can get to it.
“To come back here and help my team get a point was brilliant.
“It was just my instinct to be back on the line because you know what Hernández is like in the box. He is so good, he gets things. I just got myself there.
“The last ten minutes was just wave after wave. There were blocks, clearances, headers – we have been doing that all season.
“My clearance off the line would not have meant anything had we not gone on to get a point.
“Especially with ten men we battled and dug in.”
Newcastle were put under intense pressure from the moment Jonás Gutiérrez received a second yellow card in the 79th minute. Ashley Young hit the post, Krul pulled off magnificent saves and there were crucial blocks from Taylor and Simpson.
Newcastle had equalised Hernández’s fortunate goal when Demba Ba converted a controversial penalty.
“I have watched United over the years, and they are known for
last-minute goals,” reflected Simpson. “The manager said before the game, it is not about 90 minutes it is about 98 or whatever.
“It is true and you just have to concentrate. You have to defend well and dig in.
“People might say we were a bit lucky, but (we showed) the fight, the energy and the workrate.
“When you go 1-0 down at Old Trafford they usually go on to win. They have 70-odd thousand cheering them on. It was a bit of an unfortunate goal (Newcastle conceded) as well.
“Tayls hit the ball against Hernández and Tim did his best but could not get there.
“It was one of those things, a freak goal. The main thing is we kept our heads after that and kept going.
“When it went to 1-1, you know what is going to happen. Tim Krul made some great saves. It was a great result and it feels like a win.”
Simpson believes Newcastle’s response to their first league defeat this season has set them up well to entertain Chelsea on Saturday. He added: “We looked at a tape of the (Manchester) City game and we took a lot of positives out if it.
“City are in great form and on another day maybe we could have scored the first goal.
“We wanted to start well and make sure we took the game to them.
“In the first half, we really looked like a great team. We were popping it about and we played really well.
“It is nice not to play Chelsea after back-to-back defeats. We will take more confidence from this.”