United take point from Boro clash
NEWCASTLE United played out a 0-0 draw for the second game running in today's Tyne-Tees derby at the Riverside.
The Magpies left Teesside the happier of the two teams on a day when both sides could have picked up the three points.
United were forced to make one change to the side that drew at Chelsea last weekend with Charles N'Zogbia replacing Damien Duff.
Duff had picked up an injury in training during the week while Shola Ameobi was also an absentee after coming off second best in a 50-50 challenge with Oba Martins in the same practice session.
Steven Taylor was also back from a stomach muscle injury while Mark Viduka joined him on the bench for the first time this season at his old club Boro.
United were backed loudly by 3,800 fans in Joe Kinnear's first game in charge since landing the job until the end of the season and the Toon Army chanted his name at the Riverside.
Newcastle struggled to get a grip on the game early on and Boro responded with a long range effort from Stewart Downing but the England man's left-footed shot was always going high over Shay Given's bar just before the 20 minute mark.
The Magpies got a glimpse of goal when Martins was slipped in by Danny Guthrie but David Wheater made a clean tackle to deny the Nigerian on the half hour mark.
On 35 minutes United created their first chance of the game when Guthrie twisted inside Andrew Taylor before his goal attempt bounced off the Hartlepool-born full-back and landed at the feet of Martins.
This time the Nigerian swivelled but his shot from 12 yards crashed off the crossbar.
Moments later Martins fired in another shot at goal from distance with the effort smacking off the face of Wheater before being gratefully gathered by Ross Turnbull in the Boro goal.
Six minutes before the break Downing toiled down the left to clip in a fine cross for the unmarked Alves but he headed over the top.
But Newcastle hit back when Wheater took out Guthrie to hand the Mags a free-kick from 25 yards out.
Yet Nicky Butt's set-piece in the 42 nd minute was curled over both the wall and the Boro bar.
The two teams - who played the second half amidst a fog filled stadium - went in level at the break but United carved Boro open again two minutes into the second period.
Martins rolled it to N'Zogbia down the left but after the Frenchman picked out Guthrie the former Bolton man fired wide of the target.
Just after the hour mark Jonas fed Martins but his shot from 20 yards clipped off Wheater to deflect the ball inches wide of the target.
With 64 minutes on the clock United made a change as Viduka entered the arena to be welcomed by boos and jeers from the home fans who were still angry at his decision to quit Teesside for St James's Park in 2007.
Viduka, who has been out with an achilles problem, made his first appearance of the season and replaced Martins with the Nigerian heading straight down the tunnel.
The Aussie had a chance within six minutes after Owen nodded a right wing cross into his path but Emanuel Pogatetz blocked his effort.
But Newcastle were indebted to Given on 75 minutes when Justin Hoyte made a good run into the Toon penalty area before planting a powerful low shot at the Irishman who turned it wide.
Boro were handed a great chance with nine minutes left after Sebastien Bassong tripped Alves near the edge of the box to give the home side a dangerous free-kick.
Sub Mido fired it low towards goal but it smashed against the black and white wall.
Newcastle winger N'Zogbia then made a piercing run down the left but his effort skidded across the six yard box.
United also had a chance deep into stoppage time but Viduka could only fire it straight at Turnbull from close range.
BORO: Turnbull, Hoyte, A Taylor, Pogatetz, Digard, Aliadiere (Mido 77), Alves, Tuncay, Downing, Arca, Wheater
UNITED: Given, Beye, Coloccini, Bassong, Enrique, Jonas, Butt, Guthrie, N'Zogbia, Owen, Martins (Viduka 64).
Ref: Alan Wiley