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Oh what fun it is to see United win away!

By Lee Ryder on Dec 14, 08 03:26 PM

NEWCASTLE United climbed out of the relegation zone after a deserved win at Fratton Park today thanks to goals from Michael Owen, Oba Martins and Danny Guthrie.

The victory was United's first away win of the season and the first triumph at Portsmouth since 1991 when Kevin Brock snatched the winner.

And while United rode their luck in the first half Joe Kinnear's side fully deserved their road trip success after a polished second half performance that choked a Pompey side who had squandered a hatful of chances in the first 45 minutes.

Indeed Newcastle served up a master class in finishing in the second half to earn their biggest win of the campaign.

United midfielders Nicky Butt and Guthrie passed late fitness tests to play on the south coast while Shola Ameobi made the bench after recovering from an ankle injury.

And there was also space on the bench for winger Damien Duff with the Irishman missing out in recent weeks with a groin injury.

On a sunny but chilly afternoon at Fratton Park Pompey created the first chance of the game but Niko Kranjcar struck it wildly over the bar with two minutes played.

United's first glimpse of goal came on nine minutes when a slick pass from Jonas picked out Martins wide on the right and the Nigerian's cross was turned wide from Owen from close range.

Jermain Defoe had two chances shortly after and it was the home side who were in control at the start of this crucial Premier League fixture for the Magpies.

Shay Given had to be at his best to parry another Defoe shot on 15 minutes with United giving the striker far too much space in and around the penalty box.

Moments later Owen won a free-kick near the corner flag on the right hand side and after Guthrie had swirled in the set-piece Habib Beye headed just inches over the top.

But Newcastle came even closer after 20 minutes when Martins hit a wicked 25-yard shot that cracked the inside of the post before Pompey cleared for a corner.

However, it was all eyes on Defoe five minutes later when Nadir Belhadj clipped in a fine cross from the left yet the England man fired it over at the back post in another let off for the Magpies.

On the half hour mark it was Given to the rescue when Kranjcar's shot hit Butt with Irishman having to turn the ball wide of the post.

Newcastle survived a penalty scare on 33 minutes when Chris Foy, who had earlier ignored claims for a Butt handball, waved away protests when Sebastien Bassong appeared to haul back Defoe.

Eight minutes before the break Jose Enrique made a rare run forward before belting in a powerful effort at goal but David James clawed it away for another flag kick.

The two sides went in level at the break but Newcastle started the second period with a low drive from Jonas which James dealt with diving to his right hand post.

With 51 minutes on the clock Jonas intercepted a loose ball before slotting a textbook pass into Owen's path.

And Owen was on hand to delicately chip it over his former Liverpool colleague James and hand United the lead in front of a grateful Toon Army.

Six minutes later Defoe lashed another effort wide on the turn with Pompey trying to get back into the game.

Newcastle though looked comfortable in possession with Butt and Guthrie distributing the ball beautifully in the engine room.

With 20 minutes to go Pompey switched to a more offensive system with Kanu replacing Richard Hughes.

But it was 2-0 to Newcastle on 76 minutes when Martins finished expertly after Enrique capitalised after Pompey failed to clear their lines.

The Spaniard pierced the home defence before slipping it to the Nigerian star before he calmly slotted it past James.

With 12 minutes left Ameobi replaced Martins after an impressive shift from the Toon's number 9.

It was 3-0 when Owen slipped in Ameobi before the sub squared it from the right wing for Guthrie to fire home an unstoppable finish and cap off a wonderful day for the visiting Toon fans.

That almost cleared Fratton Park in terms of home fans but those who left missed a brilliant save from Given who denied Sean Davis a consolation goal.


POMPEY: James, Mvuemba (Traore 58), Distin, Campbell, Pamarot, Krancjar, Davis, Hughes (Kanu 70), Belhadj, Defoe, Crouch.

UNITED: Given, Beye, Enrique, Coloccini, Bassong, Jonas, Guthrie, Butt, N'Zogbia, Martins, Owen.

Ref: Chris Foy

Crowd: 19,416

14 Comments

Desmond said:

God I love this team

LoonyToon said:

It's never boring being a toon fan is it.

DAVE ROBSON said:

sebastian bassong is improving very rapidly he does'nt half make a difference in centre of defence, taylor is gonna have trouble getting back if he keeps this standard of performance up, it was a fantastic result but we cannot throw it away by getting beat against spurs next week.

Pedi said:

Excellent result.

I picked up one of the rags this mornin to see the interview with ashley. Theres about 5 quotes, none of which give any insight into current or past goings on. what a swizz!!

If owen does go, look what it leaves us up front - viduka,ameobi,smith,xitzo and martins... what a prolific bunch! Owen, love him or loathe him has a great goal/game ratio for us. His injury record is terrible but he can still do the job.
I fear the reluctance of the board to act sooner has quashed any chance we had of keeping him add to that all the upheival!
Look at west brom, they have no decent strikers and they're bottom of the league.

If martins didnt have pace he would be an awful striker, hes clumsy on the ball and only rarely shows any ability with the odd thunderbolt shot, other than that he's frustrating. Is smith in hiding, hoping he'll move in jan? Not seen him since he got booed.

Tad Caster said:

The central midfield were better today, but you're right: that's where a lot of problems lie.

Richard said:

JFK seems to have made us into a team that is difficult to beat. Yesterday we looked comfortable and it was a nice feeling knowing that we didn't need to hang on for the result.

I was surpised by the BBC Website which suggested that Defoe could 'easily have had a hat trick' and we were lucky not be a few down by half time. Even when we play wekk we still don't get the credit we deserve!!!

Anyway - I agree that Mrtins is a little erratic and his finishing wayward at times but isn't he a handful. I think he would do well playing up with someone who is both a target man and prolific (although I accept these players don't grown on trees). I think when Owen inevitably leaves we need to look long and hard at our options because his finishing is outstanding and we don't have a replacement.

Richard said:

JFK seems to have made us into a team that is difficult to beat. Yesterday we looked comfortable and it was a nice feeling knowing that we didn't need to hang on for the result.

I was surpised by the BBC Website which suggested that Defoe could 'easily have had a hat trick' and we were lucky not be a few down by half time. Even when we play wekk we still don't get the credit we deserve!!!

Anyway - I agree that Mrtins is a little erratic and his finishing wayward at times but isn't he a handful. I think he would do well playing up with someone who is both a target man and prolific (although I accept these players don't grown on trees). I think when Owen inevitably leaves we need to look long and hard at our options because his finishing is outstanding and we don't have a replacement.

Nordie said:

Martins is way more important for NUFC than Owen. Martins works hard, and score goals. In Boro-match I'm not sure if Owen even touched the ball. -But Martins were taken off.
Owen will allways wish to go to another club. Don't make Martins do it too.

Steve said:

This owen vs. martins debate is tiresome, it is clear to see that each player is of a different style and each benefits the 'team' in their own way, conversely each undoubtedly have weaknesses, however how many teams in the Premier League can boast a strike force with a 1 in 2 and 1 in 3 goals/game ratio?? Any in the top four.........No!! Add to this the fact that we're not exactly the most creative team in the division I think the return from 'our' strikers is nothing short of brilliant. As for Owen he fulfils the role asked of him each game whether that's to play high off the last man or coming deep as against Chelsea, when playing high he needs good ball to match his intelligent movement - he is simply our best player. I hope he stays although I wouldn't blame him if he left afterall this club is in one sorry mess.

Simon said:

A very good performance all round.

I was, however, a little disappointed that N'Zogbia didn't really get involved all that much. Prior to his injury, Duff was more noticeably involved than Charles has been of late.

Charlie's play has also seemed a little negative with too many sideways and backwards passes. All too infrequently did he take the ball forward and commit defenders. I do hope JFK can encourage him to be be a bit more direct in future games.

That said, this was a terrific team performance and everyone deserves credit.

Pedi said:

medan,

You obviously take things too seriously, im sorry i upset you. Owen did pass the ball down to ameobi for the setup of guthries goal though.
I have no preference over who is better owen or martins, i just think martins is more wasteful in passing+shooting. Martins does have time on his side though.

As long as they both keep scoring i couldnt give a monkeys who played for inter milan or what contribution they made in the game over the other one. If either owen or martins left we'd be a poorer team, whether i think martins is frustrating shouldnt bother you to the point it has!

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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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