Toon crawl over finish line in low key fashion

By Lee Ryder on May 11, 08 04:48 PM

NEWCASTLE UNITED ended their troubled campaign with a 3-1 defeat at Everton today as the Toffees secured their place in the UEFA Cup.

On a tough afternoon for Kevin Keegan’s side only the brilliance of Steve Harper prevented the scoreline getting out of hand on Merseyside.

United boss Kevin Keegan handed Andy Carroll his full Toon debut as the Geordie striker replaced Achilles victim Mark Viduka in a 4-4-2 formation.

With Joey Barton unavailable Charles N’Zogbia was also handed a start along with Alan Smith who replaced Oba Martins with the Nigerian not even making the bench.

Peter Ramage pulled on a black and white shirt for the last time to join youngsters Ben Tozer and Kazenga LuaLua as subs.

Everton knew they needed to win the game at Goodison to secure their place in the UEFA Cup meaning there was a crackling atmosphere ahead of kick-off.

Carroll created United’s first real chance when he let fly from outside the area but Yank goalie Tim Howard held on to his shot.

Everton though looked up for the challenge and hit back when Yakubu fired in a similar effort that flew inches wide.

Harper had to produce a powerful block to deny Victor Anichebe on 24 minutes after the Nigerian tried one from a tight angle.

But it was Anichebe’s Nigerian colleague who opened the scores four minutes later.

Damien Duff gave away a needless free-kick when he pulled back Steven Pienaar to allow Manuel Fernandes to curl a perfect set-piece into the danger area for Yakubu to steer a header past Harper.

Everton fans then watched Harper deny them again with eight minutes of the half left as he kept out Fernandes with a fine block before Yakubu’s follow up whistled past the post.

Harper then almost fumbled Anichebe’s ambitious drive into the net but the ball squirmed round the post with the home side bossing the game in the first period.

With Abdoulaye Faye picking up a knock in the first half Keegan replaced the Senegal star with Cacapa during the interval.

Newcastle started the second half in fine style when N’Zogbia made a bustling run into the box with Joseph Yobo upending the Frenchman and ref Peter Walton pointing straight to the spot.

And Michael Owen – linked with a move to Man United this morning – rolled it home to level the scores on 47 minutes and stun Goodison Park.

Yet Harper had to pull another fine save out of the bad nine minutes into the second half.

A Fernandes free-kick was whipped in powerfully with the Easington-born stopper tipping the ball over the bar.

Thunder and lightning in the second half transformed the summer backdrop that topless Toon fans had enjoyed in the first period but Everton still dominated the contest.

However, as the rain lashed down United reached the hour mark on level terms.

But Everton regained the lead with 20 minutes to go as Newcastle caved in.

Steven Taylor could only divert Fernandes’ dead ball into the path of Joleon Lescott with the England defender’s side footed finish enough to beat Harper and trickle into the bottom corner for his tenth goal of the season.

On the 75 minute mark Harper then denied Anichebe after he was given the freedom of Goodison before the Toon keeper turned his effort wide of the post.

With 13 minutes remaining LuaLua was handed a slice of the action as he replaced Jose Enrique.

As the game drifted into the final 10 minutes Leon Osman’s run into the box was brought to an abrupt end by Taylor with Walton awarding the second spot-kick of the day.

This time Yakubu stepped up and sent Harper the wrong way for 3-1.

Ramage made a farewell appearance in stoppage time but like on many occasions this season - it wasn’t Newcastle’s day.

EVERTON: Howard, Yobo (Baines 85), Lescott, Jagielka, Neville, Pienaar, Osman, Yakubu, Fernandes, Carsley (Rodwell 90), Anichebe (Gravesen 85).
Subs: Gosling, Wessells

UNITED: Harper, Beye, Taylor (Ramage 90), Faye (Cacapa 46), Enrique (LuaLua 78), Duff, Butt, N’Zogbia, Smith, Carroll, Owen.
Subs: Forster, Tozer


The Dudester said:

We thoroughly deserved that, but with "Mr Versatility" Smith and Duff playing for us, we were, in effect, down to nine men from the kickoff. They were an absolute disgrace and it they must be offloaded on some hapless manager over the summer.

On the other hand, it's more clear than ever that we need cover and competition for the full backs and an experienced and good centre half, as well as a proven striker.

As for the midfield, with Charlie probably off, Emre never fit and therefore unreliable, Barton probably doing time, Butt fading fast, Duff and Smith barely Cahmpionship standard, we need some serious investment, to put it mildly.

STEVE said:

An uneasy end to the season ,although not an unexpected result as i have a lot of time for the way everton play......BUT....I am only writing this message to YOU LEE,as i think you will be in the know......WHATS THE CRACK????whats the deal with owen,the wage cap,our transfer targets,KK,the losing of modric,and to me,most of all,the omission of OBA today?........i am extremely worried and i dont need it!!!Just when everything seemed getting back on track,we seem to have warring factions.......again.

Ryder's reply: The last thing Owen said in public (Chelsea programme) was that he was waiting for the club to contact his advisors to extend the deal.
Nothing happened last week on that score probably due to the meeting in London before yesterday's speculation that Man United are in for Owen.

phil matues said:

hey lee....richard dunne got sent off at boro meaning we go above them in the fairplay league!...By my reckoning we are in UEFA cup next season.Any chance you could clarify this?

Ryder's reply: The disciplinary table says we are fifth but the Fair Play table is calculated on more than just red and yellow cards and in the Fair Play, we finished some way down the table meaning the passports won't be getting dusted off for us next term.

Charles said:

Again a not so good performance in front of the keeper. Newcastle's shooting rate is embarrassing in front of Howard.

Truth is, we just cant play Smith, Duff and Geremi together. Either way, only one of the lot can play in the 11-man lineup and never shall either two from three step out the field together or pandemonium of mistakes shall ensue.

I just cant do much commenting about the team performance anymore but one thing's for sure, Harper showed Given he cant play as well. One problem solved and always will be solve is the keeper issues which Newcastle united seems to be extremely rich of.

I am now looking forward to the future although I quite sure KK will NOT be selling Duff, Smith or Geremi, sadly, mostly because the trio are priceless (Literal truth not saying really expensive)

With Viduka out, we showed in the last two matches that we cant survive without him. Love his control or hate his pace, he's vital in the line up and certainly cemented A.Smith on the bench at least. With him gone will be a REALLY big blow so I'm backing KK to find TWO suitable replacements. I really think Asthon will work and the other who will be coming can back the two injury heads out.

Midfield, I agree with Paul with his previous comments that Moutinho should be considered. Zog is certain he will go so a replacement must be set. Another one in the heart of midfield to back Barton's stupid clause in Liverpool and to back the old Nicky Butt.

Go for Dunne in defense, throw in a left back as well. Risse or Bridge but I prefer Risse's long shot abilities.

Owen a priority to stay, unless a much, much better striker is at hand but still would rather have Owen though.

Lets hope and pray hard that Ashley is loosening his wallet or else its deja'vu again for the magpies...

Adhip Somanna said:

Does Richard Dunne's Sending off at the smoggies mean that we qualify for the UEFA cup through the fair play league..

Bill said:

About the only positive from this result is that when we don't play 4-3-3 and have to play 2nd eleveners, e.g. Duff, Smith, Cacapa, Carroll, etc, it proves we MUST have an invasion of quality players to the squad.

Richard Dunne - OKish - but I would like us to set our sights a bit higher. (For example, Bentley from Blackburn, Celtic's McGeady, etc.) KK has set us the target of overhauling Everton - a realistic goal to me - but I don't think that can be achieved with most of the fringe players we currently have.
If only Zog could be persuaded to stay. Any chance Lee?

Snapper said:

Wish I had been a fly on the wall at "That meeting". As our distingished contributors before me outline, we need to spend a massive amount in close season. The lessons of KK predessesors mistakes must be learned. No more Duffs (how aptly named), Geremi, Smiths etc etc. Do we think that Man U or Chelsea would sell players who they thought anything of? The alarm bells should have rang when we got Duff for £5 mil when Chelski paid Blackburn over £12 mil for him, Man u also made no effort to talk Smith out of leaving, instead the word was, let those suckers at St James have him. How Geremi once played for Real Madrid is one of life's great mysteries.

jon said:

match was a disaster...couldn't believe what i was seeing....smith was rubbish...pls get rid of 4 butt he's old alr...get a cover as well...cacapa...oh my...he is simply rubbishly terrible...throw him out pls...duff i ain't so convinced he's that terrible...mayb keegan can groom him??try to get n'zogbia 2 stay...n ya...tie taylor, owen n martins up asap...n get a big centre back and big centre forward...carroll still 2 raw...oya....newcastle all the way!!!

Anonymous said:

Bentley, McGready, Velouso, joaquin,zambrotta,

find us a vidic, fabregas. they braely cost 5 million.

Rob Hollis said:

Newcastle overhaul Everton! Keegan is in dreamland and probably will have left by Christmas anyway.

You have a great fanbase but sadly that is it. Instead of believing the Sky publicity and Keegans dreams you should get a Manager who will be there for the long term and give him five years.

If you dont have long term plans then the only solution is to spend very big. I suspect Keegan will spit out his dummy when he can't have 25mill for one player, you will then have to start again.

You could not have chosen a worse Manager


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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