United take point from Boro clash

By Lee Ryder on Nov 29, 08 11:09 PM

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

Crowd: 32,160


Andrew said:

Getting a point against Chelsea might be considered remarkable. But against Boro, I don't think it's good enough. Michael Owen was never in the game but who does Joe replace??? The only player out there that looked like scoring . . . Oba Martins. Joe's logic is questionable at the best of times, but switching a "super-charged" Martins for Viduka was a shot in the dark that had as much chance of working as Nicky Butt had of scoring from a free kick. Everyone had to know where he was going to put it? It's looking bleak at the moment. If we re-build this team on the shoulders of Michael Owen we will need to find 5 new players in January, not 2 or 3 as Joe has hinted. Michael needs a lot of support to give him more chances if he's ever to regain the deadly scoring touches he once had. Roll on January.

Jay said:

Totally agree with Andrew, why was Martins taken off, he worked his socks off and looked really up for it. Yet Owen was not even in the game. If that wazs me on FM09 Owen would have a rating of 5 and martins 7/8...i know who i would have brought off...And I finished 5th in my first campaign lol.

Al Jardine said:

Another game for the taking and, as against Wigan, we were glad for the point by the end.

Martins should've stayed on, again. We seem to have a lot of trouble bringing the ball out of defence. So much so, in fact, that one 'fan' writing in the Observer was bemoaning the absence of a player of Dyer's ability. Oh my God. Of course, it helped that he had Nobby to pass to him and be there to collect the return...

We persist in playing two like central midfielders to the detriment of our performance. When Viduka came on - and he played well - we should've lost Butt and dropped Owen deeper.

Surprisingly, I thought Coliccini had a poor game today, which is odd because normally, I'd prefer a central defensive pairing of Bassong and Coloccini.

However, the problem continues to lie in the midfield and their inability to link the game and drive it forward (as it does when Barton plays too), although Guthrie had his best game in a while.

ian said:

I can't think where everyone gets the idea that Ashley is going to give the (hopefully temporary)manager any money in January. We've been here before and once we rightly forced the owner to sell, he began his vindictive campaign to leave the club in ruins. There may be a credit crunch but a prospective buyer would be there if the fat fool wasn't pricing us out of the market. He knows that in the shady and secretive financial world,and with the attention it would attract from our scum press, no-one is going to be prepared to come out and say he's asking too much.Therefore he can continue to get away with sending the puppet out to spout utter nonsense about the potential future.If the masses can't realise the fool he's making out of Kinnear, and in turn us, then shame on us all. The future is Ameobi,Duff,Smith and all the other deadbeat Latinos that little twit Wise brought in.What's the answer, what should have happened in the first place, total boycott of the club until they are gone. Remember that whoever invests in us has only to buy a team, everything else is in place so the only reason they can't be buying is the price that's being asked.

mark said:

kinnear said that 'mike 'has been advised by him to come to st.james and bring his kids. He went on to say that he told him that the club belonged to him so he could do whatever he wanted. Does anyone doubt that kinnear is 100% ashleys man and has been giving us cabbage since he arrived.


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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