Local lad Longstaff applied the finishing touch at the end of a counter-attack midway through the second half with a crisp low drive that secured Steve Bruce – on his 400th game as a Premier League manager – his first victory over the club he used to captain at the 23rd attempt.
The 19-year-old’s goal sealed a dream debut in Newcastle’s midfield alongside brother Sean Longstaff and condemned Manchester United to yet another away defeat as their winless run on the road stretched to an alarming 11 games.
With senior first-team members Paul Pogba, Victor Lindelof and Jesse Lingard out injured, Newcastle seized the opportunity to set the tone from the first whistle with an industrious display in the North East rain.
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The visitors could not cope with the pace and power of Allan Saint-Maximin, who had a couple of glimpses of the Manchester United goal, before Longstaff beat David de Gea all ends up with a thunderous, dipping volley only to be denied by the crossbar.
The chances kept on coming for Newcastle. Fabian Schar glanced a header onto the roof of the net on the half-hour mark before Miguel Almiron spurned a glorious chance to open his Newcastle account when he hesitated in getting a shot away and allowed Harry Maguire to intervene with a last-gasp block.
Andreas Pereira registered Manchester United’s first shot on target on 39 minutes before Schar nearly turned a Diogo Dalot cross into his own net, but the best chance of the half for either side fell to Maguire, who headed wide from a corner from six yards in first-half stoppage time.
As was the case in the first half, Manchester United saw plenty of the ball but lacked the necessary incision needed to make the breakthrough, while at the other end their problems were compounded by the introduction of Andy Carroll, who sent a bullet header over the bar within 10 minutes of entering the fray
And just as the peripheral figures of Daniel James and Marcus Rashford threatened to swing the game in their side’s favour, Newcastle scored the goal their industrious performance warranted.
Saint-Maximin and Jetro Willems lead a charge, driving into the final third where the ball was rolled into the path of Longstaff, and he rifled a low shot beyond De Gea that sent St James’ Park into raptures and Newcastle on their way to a priceless victory.