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Zog stormer helps erase Derby nightmare

By Lee Ryder on Sep 23, 07 03:19 PM

Charles N'Zogbia inspired Newcastle United to all three points at St James' Park today.

The Frenchman knows he has competition on the left hand side these days with Spanish ace Jose Enrique now up and running - meaning he will have to fight for his place in Sam Allardyce's side.

But he responded in the best possible fashion with a superb performance against the Hammers.

United made two changes to the side that had lost so poorly against Derby County on Monday night with Senegal international Habib Beye replacing Steven Taylor and Shola Ameobi dropped all together with Mark Viduka taking his place.

And after a week of talk about which former Magpies would be taking the field to face their old club only ex-Toon bad boy Lee Bowyer appeared in the match at St James' Park.

Before kick off both sides participated in a minute's applause for tragic teenager Jordan Thompson who lost his life to cancer last Saturday with the former Academy kid's parents pitchside as the Toon Army paid their respects.

The emotional display was quickly followed by more noise with Newcastle snatching the lead on two minutes after James Milner fed left-back Charles N'Zogbia before the Frenchman swept it to the near post for Viduka who powered home a header to net his second of the season.

Yet it all went a bit flat for Newcastle after that as they allowed West Ham a route back into the game.

On 27 minutes came the warning shot from the Hammers as Mark Noble's low shot had to be tipped round the post by Steve Harper at Gallowgate.

Then five minutes later a long throw from Lucas Neill was flicked on via Carlton Cole's chest before Dean Ashton's crisp volley beat Harper to level the scores.

But Newcastle would go in with their tails up at the break.

With four minutes left N'Zogbia's overlapping run down the left resulted in the former Le Havre ace picking out Viduka, this time at the back post, before the big Aussie applied the finish to make it 2-1.

United aimed to start the second half in the same manner but their hopes were dashed when Owen was replaced by Oba Martins sparking fresh injuries fears.

However, United still tried to add to their tally with David Rozehnal, Nicky Butt and sub Martins both working England international Green before the hour mark.

But just like they had in the first period West Ham continued to press the home side, albeit without reward.

Yet there were Toon hearts in mouths on 71 minutes when Bowyer's effort from the edge of the box had to parried by Harper and cleared frantically by the United defence.

Those fears though went out of the window with just 14 minutes left when Alan Smith picked out Martins before the Nigerian rolled it across the face of goal for N'Zogbia to grab his third of the season to cap a wonderful display.

The French Under-21 star had been pushed up to the left wing after Jose Enrique's introduction for Viduka but he went level in the scoring charts with both the Aussie and Martins to make it 3-1.

The African star almost made it four near the end when he went round Green only to fire into the side netting.

But it couldn't spoil a great afternoon for Big Sam and United with plenty of plus points for the Geordie public.

UNITED: Harper, Beye, Rozehnal, Cacapa (Taylor 78), N'Zogbia, Smith, Geremi, Butt, Milner, Owen (Martins 51), Viduka (Enrique 73)
Subs not used: Given, Faye.

WEST HAM: Green, Neill, McCartney, Ferdinand, Upson, Ashton, Etherington (Spector 80), Cole (Camara 68), Noble, Mullins (Ljungberg 62), Bowyer.
Subs not used: Collins, Wright.
Attendance:50,104
Ref: Mike Riley

HOW DID YOU RATE THE TOON'S PERFORMANCE?

6 Comments

ronnie davison said:

Cant and wont get carried away, West Ham did have the better for a long while
only Viduka and Zoggy helped us through this one

Bri from whitley said:

wa 4th in the league man cant winge at that

Zak Planet not in Boro (thankfully) said:

We played some good stuff on and off throughout this game but we were far better when we had someone wide right. I have no time for Smudger Smithy - a thug, to put it basically - but it surely wasn't his fault that he didn't stick out wide right. Got to be Fat Sam's decision, right? He was far better holding the ball up at the front - and he didn'r get booked, which, in itself, is a miracle. Defensively, we made one mistake and that resulted in a goal; otherwise, Mr Carr needs a taxi in January. We have a right back who, like Nobby, actually reads the game. Glory be! Don't get me wrong, there were worrying moments - largely because no-one seemed to want to run into space - but this was our best performance so far - not hurt by the fact the Hammers didn't seem interested in the second half, apart from Ashton and that whining Gooner who was always looking for a foul. Oh yeah: atrocious refereeing performance....

Paul Patterson said:

Im not getting carried away either, because now, we’ve played Aston Villa, Wigan and West Ham and we’ve failed to convince at home.

Now far from me to complain at a 3-1 home win, but we only started looking good when N’Zogbia and Milner were switched to their respective wings, further forward.

West Ham had far too many chances for my liking, but hopefully now that Enrique and Beye have bedded in slightly, they will start as full backs and Milner and N’Zogbia will be on the wings.

Worryingly we’ve shipped two more injuries, typically Owen again, but lets hope they return ultra quick and FIT this time.

Paul.

Benton Bob said:

All that really matters at this point are the 3 points. Big Sam is skilfully fitting in all his buys one by one and it looks like we may at last have found a worthwhile right back. Habib Beye not only reads the game but goes overlapping when it matters and produced a few telling crosses. Apart from 1 scary moment (the pass back to Harper) Enrique looks to be finding his feet as well.When he came on N'Zog was released wide, Milner went right and Smithy looked much more comfortable up front. Ashton and Cole gave Roz and Cacapa a bit of a roasting aerially in the 1st half, so if there is hope for Taylor it's in 1 of those 2 positions -- even Faye is good cover at the back if they don't learn the script. Owen is obviously not fit and Viduka is gonna be in and out all season -- he's always struggled to put a good few games together -- his 1st goal was outstanding.So my view is, bit by bit the jigsaw is coming together, Barton and Duff will defo add to the party when fit. Notwithstanding the Derby fiasco -- and you feel there will be 1 or 2 more debacles to come (thats NUFC !)I don't think there's anything to stop us really pushing into that top 6.If Owen & Viduka don't make it to the Emirates it's gotta be Martins and Smith up front.Next Sat's agame against City will be our biggest of the season so far and a better yardstick of where our ambitions fit.

PJ said:

Sam is slowly building a proper team here. Nicky Butt was awesome against West Ham, MoM displays all over the pitch. No doubt some people will still find something to whine about, ie not winning EVERY game or not winning the league, and the journos will wait a while before sharpening the knives again, the pressure will be on the manager AGAIN after 3 poor results, we'll get him kicked out and the re-re-re-re-rebuilding process starts again, yes? If people from top to bottom get behind this manager and give him the time that ANY winning team needs, NUFC is going places. A top performance.

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Lee Ryder

Lee Ryder - Proudly born and bred on Tyneside, the Chronicle's chief sports writer has followed the fortunes of the club over the last three decades as a Toon fan and football writer.

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