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Three points for Newcastle at last!

By Lee Ryder on Mar 22, 08 04:45 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED finally recorded their first win under Kevin Keegan as Fulham left St James’s Park empty handed tonight.

Goals from Mark Viduka and Michael Owen sealed the three points as United took another step closer to safety in the Premier League.

United boss Kevin Keegan named an unchanged line up following the 1-1 draw with Fulham meaning Alan Smith was only a sub with Damien Duff not selected.

As expected United started with the 4-3-3 formation that served them so well at St Andrews in the second half on Monday night.

Toon players formed a huddle before the game as they attempted to win their first game since December 15 in the Premier League ironically against the Cottagers at Craven Cottage.

The first chance of the afternoon went to Fulham when Jimmy Bullard cracked one at goal from outside the box but the ball went over the bar after a deflection off Joey Barton on three minutes.

But three minutes later United were in front thanks to Mark Viduka as the rain lashed down at St James’s Park.

Geremi fashioned the opening down the right and the Aussie turned his man on the edge of the box to fire home the opener.

That rain soon turned into snow but Newcastle kept up the pressure and looked the better team in the opening 15 minutes.

And they could have doubled their advantage on 23 minutes when a long ball found Ob Martins before the Nigerian raced on to curl a wonderful shot at Kasey Keller which the American turned away for a corner.

Owen then tested Keller again with a long range effort after Viduka’s win in the air on 29 minutes and Fulham had to twice clear frantically from the resultant corner.

Fulham responded with another long rang dig from Bullard 11 minutes before the break but Harper held firm.

Once more though Newcastle roared back and two minutes later Owen could have made it two when Beye crossed from the right to set up a header which was easily gathered by Keller.

But Newcastle went in ahead at the interval with a 1-0 lead.

Eight minutes into the second half Martins began to demonstrate his pace and skill once again when he latched on to a block tackle from Joey Barton before firing over at Gallowgate.

On 57 minutes Barton tested Keller to the limit when a half cleared corner fizzed inches wide with the one time England international enjoying a solid game for the Mags.

Keegan changed things with 15 minutes left when N’Zogbia replaced Martins who was as usual afforded a tremendous reception when he left the field.

KK switched it to a 4-4-2 formation with N’Zogbia moving out to the left hand side.

Geremi cracked one at Keller on 76 minutes but even though the US star fumbled the effort he grabbed the ball at the second attempt.

With eight minutes left United sealed the victory after Geremi’s superb free-kick was headed home by Owen to make it 2-0.

UNITED: Harper, Beye (Edgar 87), Taylor, Faye, Enrique, Geremi, Butt, Barton, Viduka (Smith 84), Owen, Martins (N’Zogbia 74)
Subs: Forster, Carroll.

FULHAM: Keller, Konchesky, Johnson, Staleri (Healy 85), Hughes, McBride (Dempsey 67), Bullard, Davies, Andreasen, Murphy (Volz 71), Hangeland.
Subs: Bocanegra, Warner

Crowd: 52, 293

Ref: Alan Wiley

7 Comments

Paul Patterson said:

The sight of Kevin Keegan celebrating with his lucozade bottle after the second goal will long live in my memory.

The joy, the relief, the knowledge that you’ve just done over a side gunning for safety much like yourselves is fantastic, even if it took a while and many heart stopping moments later, never the less, safety will be assured if we can gain another two wins against Reading and Sunderland.

Thanks lad’s, this is not the week to be negative, for if you had given me four points before Monday night, you’d have no hands left.

Oh Joy!

Come On The Toon!!!!!

Paul.

Charles said:

Good performance throughout the game. Newcastle pass well considering the fact that they never got possession for more than 2 seconds in the past.

Viduka can challenge in the air for the two shorter strikers, Martins and Owen while Martins shows the pace and Owen showed a little reason to be captain after all.

Most would disagree Owen as captain but he played too good to snub him yesterday. Passing from him have been excellent although still room for improvement. The only downside is sometimes the players couldn't get hold of the ball and lost possession but all in good time.

Barton showing extreme resilience, tackling players like they wasnt there. He relatively improved tremendously but there is still MORE room for improvement from him.

Butt is good, passing and tackling everywhere in the field along with Faye and Beye and leaving Taylor as last man is excellent.

Lets hope the game continues like this.

M Sebastian T said:

Come on Toon! must admit to being wrong about them never winning again this season, but from now on it gets much harder. Will 35 or 36 points be enough because that is about what we will get?

Siomi said:

A bit bleary eyed and worse for wear, but the world seems a much brighter place!

It was great to see the boys playing for each other and beginning to enjoy their football. It’s not ‘sexy football’ yet, but the seeds are there and Kevin managed a drinks bottle spurt!

Bring on the rest of the season!!

RAY WILSON said:

Well done the lads-lets have more of the same against spurs Kev-please go for the throat at spurs-its the way we play the best. Its good to see Kev has dropped the useless Duff-have we not looked a million times better without him holding everything up. We truly now need to keep our three man attack -we look far more menancing than we have looked all season. I always beleived that Kev would get it right and what we have can get us to safety this season. Next season I am still hoping and dreaming we could get Bentley { his recent comments do not cement the view he will stay at Blackburn } and Berbatov would still love Sheares jersey { so his mother keeps saying } If we want to move forward and take on a higher level its players like these two we need to sign. Its up to you Mike.

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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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