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Season 2003-04
 Charlton Athletic (h) Premiership


Saturday 20th March 2004, 5.30pm - live on Sky PPV.

Venue:  St.James' Park

 Calm and dry, with the rain some hours earlier not appearing to further affect the surface and the prevalent strong winds on Tyneside blocked by the stands.



Newcastle United

3 - 1 Charlton Athletic


57 secs: Laurent Robert's long throw down the left was cleared back to him and the winger sent over a dipping cross that Shearer converted with a header. The contact wasn't a clean one but TV replays failed to show whether the ball actually went in off his shoulder. 1-0

35 mins: A mazy run by Shola Ameobi into the box ended with him toe-poking the ball in the vague direction of Jenas. JJ didn't get there first but Young's attempted clearance ricocheted off JJ's knee and into the roof of the net. 2-0

Half time:  Newcastle  2 Charlton 0

54 mins: A move down our left ended with Paul Konchesky failing to collect a ball from Di Canio. However, the shaven-headed left-back still managed to send over a cross that Bramble could only flick on to Jensen in the middle who finished powerfully from six yards.

77 mins: Laurent Robert cut in from the right and was allowed to run into the box. He feinted left as Chris Perry was about to challenge and as the defender stuck out his left leg Robert went down. At full speed it looked like a penalty but TV replays showed that Robert was on his way down before falling over the outstretched leg. Shearer stepped up and hit a decent penalty that Kiely did well to push onto the post. The ball came back across the goal line where Big Al tucked it in from a yard out.

Full time:  Newcastle  3 Charlton 1

We Said

Sir Bobby said:

"We were excellent. Our first-half performance was just about our best performance here all season, typified by the two strikers."

"They were in magnificent form, they gave the central defenders difficult matches, they could never really control them and they won this match.

"There are nine games to play, but here we are in fifth, battling hard."

"There are no easy matches away from home. We don't lose in the last few minutes on purpose or by accident."

"Teams play until the last minute and we have been rather unlucky with late equalisers and - in Tottenham's case last weekend - a goal which cost us three points.

"We have had a lot of draws having been in winning positions and we have not seen the games out.

"But it is going to be nip and tuck between now and the end of the season.

"We have just got to go at every single game as it comes, and attack the situation.

"I will look at the video - I know Laurent was quick on the ball and he has got to drive past him - and then I will make my decision."

"Then I will take the player aside and speak to him about it.

"All managers in this country are honest people. We don't ask our players to cheat and fall and dive."

They Said

Alan Curbishley commented:

"I thought (referee) Mike Riley had a good game, but I thought (for the penalty) he got done.

"He (Robert) is running in the box and knows what he's doing. He's left his leg but there's no contact."

"It was a disastrous start, but we applied ourselves in the second half, then it all changes in a minute.

"I thought at the time it wasn't a penalty, and I didn't think it was when I watched it on the monitor.

"But I am proud of these players, as we have got so many out. We have been battling away but we didn't get much luck there."

"We have got another game next week. We are home to Villa and if we can get a result there, we are right back in it.

"People keep reminding us in the last couple of years we have fallen away, but we have done terrifically well to be where we are."

Match Stats

NUFC v CAFC last 10:

2003/04 Won 3-1 Shearer(2), Jenas
Won 2-1 Griffin, Robert
Won 3-0 Speed, LuaLua, Shearer
2000/01 Lost 0-1 no scorer
1998/99 Drew 0-0 no scorer
1996/97 Won 2-1 Clark, Shearer (FAC) 
Drew 2-2 Lee Kelly
1991/92 Lost 3-4 Clark, Hunt, Brock 
Lost 1-3 Brock
1988/89 Lost 0-2 no scorer


While Alan Shearer deservedly took the man of the match award for ninety minutes-worth of effort and endeavour, the split-second contribution of Shay Given played a crucial part in securing this victory.

With United a goal ahead within seconds of the first whistle and deservedly two up by the interval, those home fans towards the Leazes end had good reason to expect further action involving visiting 'keeper Kiely.

However it was their counterparts at the Gallowgate end who witnessed more goalscoring threat, as Charlton attempted to gain a foothold in the game with some success, thanks to our periodically hibernating defence.

Having grabbed a goal back, the fellow Champions League aspirants lacked the pace or guile to really pull us apart, but when Ameobi spurned a good goalscoring opportunity from a Shearer knockdown there was a suspicion that it could come back to haunt us.

That it didn't was entirely due to the reflexes and instincts of Newcastle and Ireland's number one, who despite being unsighted, sprang to his left to divert a Perry blaster past Bernard and to safety via an upright.

2-2 then and anything could have happened, Charlton enjoying some notable successes here in the last couple of decades - turning a 3-0 home advantage into a 4-3 away victory being the most memorable / painful to recall.

A stunning piece of work then and one which seconds later was being acclaimed by the Gallowgate, as Alan Shearer waited to take a penalty at the opposite end of the Park.

And to add insult to injury in the eyes of Curbishley and Co. it was the unfortunate Perry who was adjudged to have upended Robert in the box. TV later confirmed Robert had taken evasive action to tumble around Perry's outstretched foot.

Speaking of outstretched feet, had Shearer not reacted first to convert his own penalty when it rebounded off Kiely and the post, would referee Riley have penalised Di Canio for remaining in the box throughout the incident? On the basis he couldn't be bothered to set walls back ten yards we must presume not....                           
At 3-1 with 13 minutes left, Charlton probably sensed it wasn't their day but kept going and managed to find our defence mentally on the Quayside when Johansson struck the same post as Perry/Given earlier.

In view of Liverpool's last-minute winner at home to Wolves, this victory was vital, especially coming on the heels defeats earlier in the day for Fulham, Spurs, Villa and Birmingham.

And while the result was of paramount importance at this stage in Premiership proceedings, we at least showed more of the improvement in form that characterised the last half hour against Mallorca and the ultimately fruitless encounter at Spurs.
Getting an early goal was a boon to us, with the scorer looking in especially determined mood and his competitive spirit apparently having a positive influence on the performances of some of his younger colleagues.

It has to be recorded though that the poorness of the opposition was also a factor, with injuries and loss of form requiring Curbishley to field a side that showed little of the proficiency that had taken them above us in the table, at least in the opening 45 minutes.

That they also kept the non-contributing Di Canio on the field was also handy for United, apart from the earache he proceeded to give our players, his colleagues, the referee and apparently himself throughout the evening. Perhaps if he'd saved his breath....

Given the defensive problems that Charlton had, it was no doubt a source of great irritation to the sidelined Craig Bellamy that he wasn't on the field to exploit the large gaps between defence and midfield and inflect some punishment with his pace.

Ameobi aside, the nearest to Bellers in terms of Speed was Jenas and he managed to penetrate the Charlton area and grab a goal which he knew virtually nothing about.

But like Shearer's penalty follow-up, they all count, however they go in and after scoring some picture book goal-of-the-month contenders in this campaign, it was nice to see our lads getting into the positions to take advantage of circumstances and grab scabby conversions for once.

What was evident though despite our more composed play was that the right flank continues to be an under-exploited avenue of opportunity for us. While Ambrose is a willing tryer and had his moments here, more often than not the ball comes our backwards from that channel, unlike the opposite side.

Such concerns though are for the future and now we're into the final set of games to decide next season's order of play, we can ponder as to who we might buy for that role with that Champs League bounty - or whether Martin Brittain will get another first team game if we're pleading poverty.
Like Jonathan Woodgate's stomach complaint, it might sometimes be less than ideal but we just have to keep playing through regardless of the circumstances. 

Shearer set us on the road to these three points and his will-to-win and robustness need to be replicated across the team if we're to finish anywhere near where we believe we deserve to be. 



Page last updated 14 July, 2016