Sir Alex Ferguson blasted the match officials at half-time after the Magpies went 2-1 up courtesy of a Jonny Evans own-goal which came about when Papiss Cisse had been flagged for offside only for referee Mike Dean to overrule the decision.
"The referee changed the linesman's mind," said Ferguson after Evans had inadvertently turned home Danny Simpson's cross.
"He said it was an own-goal. But if you see it again, and the referee can't, the guy (Cisse) is in an offside position, then he pulls Evans' arm.
"If that is not interfering what is?
"I think it was a bad decision."
Nevertheless, United managed to record all three points after they fell behind when James Perch opened the scoring in the fourth minute before Evans responded in the 25th.
The Northern Irishman's own-goal preceded Patrice Evra's 58th minute leveller at 2-2 prior to Cisse edging the Toon ahead ten minutes later but Robin van Persie and Hernandez both scored in the final 20 minutes to send United well clear at the summit.