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United do it the hard way in the East End!

By Lee Ryder on Apr 26, 08 04:58 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED came back from the dead in the East End of London tonight after a dramatic fightback against West Ham.

United found themselves 2-0 down heading into the break after Mark Noble and Dean Ashton strikes put the home side in full control.

However, two goals in the last three minutes of the first half from Oba Martins and Geremi hauled Newcastle back into the game.

Kevin Keegan replaced injured centre-back Abdoulaye Faye with David Edgar as the Canadian Under-20 skipper started his second game of the season at a sun drenched Boelyn Ground.

The Hammers started with former Newcastle captain Scott Parker while ex-Toon star Nobby Solano was on the bench for Alan Curbishley’s boys.

West Ham had the first chance of the game when Habib Beye hauled down ex-Sunderland man George McCartney on the edge of the penalty area before Julien Faubert bent one just over the top.

The home side enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening 10 minutes and it was McCartney who played a vital part.

The full-back swept in a cross from the left hand side with Mark Noble applying the finish from 10 yards out with his left foot as Newcastle conceded their first goal of the month.

West Ham were dealt a blow when Freddy Ljungberg was injured with Luis Boa Morte replacing him mid-way through the first half.

Within seconds of his arrival a long punt by Robert Green was flicked on by Bobby Zamora into the path of Dean Ashton who cracked a shot on the turn into the bottom corner for 2-0 on 23 minutes.

It was no more than West Ham deserved as Newcastle barely found a way into the Hammers’ half.

But rather than see out time in the last few minutes of the half, West Ham pressed the self-destruct button.

Newcastle’s first glimpse of goal came with 36 minutes played as Geremi crossed from the right to find Michael Owen but Lucas Neill’s snuffed out the chance.

With three minutes of the half though United caught West Ham napping as Joey Barton dinked a ball over the top that young Irons defender James Tonkins failed to cut out with Oba Martins capitalising and lifting the ball over Green.

Amazingly United were level on the stroke of half-time as West Ham knocked off once again.

Geremi’s right wing cross was pinged clear by West Ham but it landed at the feet of the Nigerian on the edge of the box and this time a powerful effort was diverted into the net by Geremi to make it 2-2.

The teams went in level at the break with United handed a lifeline after West Ham’s slump late in the second half.

After the interval a Faubert foul on Martins earned United a free-kick on 55 minutes but Geremi’s wild set-piece evaded everybody in a black and white shirt and ended up in the away section of the ground.

There were no real chances in the opening 20 minutes of a keenly contested second half but both teams always looked capable of grabbing one on the break.

The Hammers made a change on 67 minutes with Carlton Cole replacing Zamora as Curbishley went for the kill.

With 20 minutes remaining Ashton reminded United that a point was not in the bag as a rasping low drive had to be gathered carefully by Harper.

Harper then denied Ashton again after a ball down the right was played into his path before the Toon keeper tipped the ball over the bar.

From the resultant corner United frantically cleared and as the ball bounced off Owen’s arm the home fans believed that Uriah Rennie should have awarded a penalty.

In the closing stages KK introduced Alan Smith with the former Leeds man taking the place of ex-Elland Road colleague Viduka.

In the last minute a shot from Martins had to be gobbled up by Green in a tense finish.


WEST HAM: Green, Neill, McCartney, Ljungberg (Boa Morte 22), Parker, Ashton, Pantsil, Noble, Faubert, Zamora (Cole 67), Tomkins.
Subs: Walker, Solano, Mullins

NEWCASTLE: Harper, Beye, Edgar, Taylor, Enrique, Geremi, Butt, Barton, Martins, Viduka, Owen.
Subs: Forster, Duff, Diatta, Smith, Carroll.

Ref: Uriah Rennie

Crowd: 34,980

5 Comments

Paul Patterson said:

A game that would have been lost this time January.

The game has little relevance except the point that we came back from 2-0 down and showed character, but the summer is where all the cream comes together to add a nice glace to the proverbial cake.

Disappointing to lose Modric, but at the end of the day, if he wants the bright lights of Chas and Dave’s home town, then fair play to him, but that’s not good enough for us, Charles N’Zogbia can sod off as well.

My option to be brought in is a player who is right out of the Keegan mould, a player who has problems at his current club, who is outstanding and can defend as well as he can attack, a player with an outstanding left foot and someone who would walk into ANY side in the top four- Step forward John Arne Risse.

A central defender is a must, but as for who- that’s over to the club and it’s scouting staff. If we started the season with this current squad ONLY- I’d be confident we’d finish near the top six- certainly much higher than what we will get this season.

I like Moutinho at Sporting, he would cost, I don’t go along with many people saying we need a striker- although if it were to replace Viduka, then I wouldn’t complain, as he often looks what he is- a carthorse.

I’d certainly nab Hughes at Fulham if it were for a nominal fee, he would provide good cover right across the back without being a star studded buy.

Either way, I will end with what I’ve ended my posts with for the last month or so. . .

I trust Kevin Keegan.

Paul.

Andy Batten said:

I would have taken a draw before the game and even more so after Ashton had made it two nil. As Paul said this would have been a game we would have lost a few months ago after going a goal down let alone two!

As always I’m looking forward to all the summers transfer speculations but I have a funny feeling that this years will be more exciting than most.

Just a side note Lee, do you have any rituals or superstitions before a game? I’m not normally a superstitious person but I just thought I’d tell you a little story.
I had a week off prior to the Birmingham game and as I do when I’m off work I never shaved, on the Monday of the Birmingham I said to the wife “if we don’t lose tonight I’m not going to shave� I guess you could say the rest is history, seven weeks later the beards going strong and of course we still haven’t lost!

Like I said I’m not normally a superstitious person but I’m happy to keep the beard for a couple more weeks yet and I’ve even had a few compliments to boot.

Fernando said:

With the current squad we will not make it to the top 6 next season. Truth be told, although in some cases the amount of spending on recruitment on new players doesn't result in success, it's probably because other teams have spent the same amount.

So if we were to stay stationary and silent, we'll left behind. I know there is a lot more to success then spending, but we can't deny a big chunk of the reason of success is investment.

But it has to be prudent. That is understood.

If we don't at least match Hotspur's spending we'll be left behind. Mark my words.

David Edgar has been tried and tested and it is apparent he needs experience and needs to go out on loan.

I might want to add, Keegan's been pretty cautious lately, that is to no fault of his, ever since the blackburn 1-0 result. But I shall criticise his choice of putting edgar in CB rather than RB.

haroon said:

I'll have to agree with Paul, I'd have switched off my TV and gone to bed if Allardyce were still in charge. Something just made me wanna stay. It wasn't too long before I was rewarded. Lets finish the season on a high and we'll see who's brought in during the summer. We're unbeaten in 6 games(?), so good job boys!

Haroon
Singapore

Ronnie Lambert said:

I was going to say that Paul, " I'd feel confident with this present team starting next season now that Kev's de-programmed them from Big Spam's brainwashing." Albeit as a top six potential. I felt excited about them in Sam's pre-season on the basis that most of them are internationals, and have decent reputations as premiership players, but of course Sam didn't know what he was doing outside of his comfort zone Bolton. Now, with Mike Ashley hopefully honouring his original commitment to developing this club with some needed bunce, I feel more confident than KK that we could get into the top four. Again Paul P., I have sublime trust in Kev's talent and instinct, just look how he's transformed the mindset in the camp. I recently spanked the Geordie-bashers on the beeb's 606 for their moronic jibes of, " You'll hound KK out as well, he'll walk out again, you'll never win anything...etc." by stating what I personally feel, and what I think most toon fans feel which is...... we'll keep on supporting the toon and Keegan as long as he gives us HIS style of footie, which is the best I've seen since the old days of the 2-3-5 formation. Of course we'd all like to win something again, and the law of averages says that with the club in great hands now, it will happen sooner rather than later, but these morons imagine that we'll scream KK out if we've won nowt in his three years. How long did it take Fergie to " click " with his team, with huge backing from his board every year? Can you imagine how far we'd have come if Kev hadn't been shafted out of town 7 years ago with the " entertainers " ? There would've been the top 5 and not top 4, and I can see that happening.

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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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