Half time: Newcastle 0 Manchester 0
66mins: A long punt forward from Van
Der Saar somehow eluded Boumsong, allowing Rooney to close in on goal
unopposed and hammer the ball past Given at the Leazes end.
Pitchside microphones transmitted his "You f*cking beauty"
celebration live across the planet. 0-1
90mins Rooney outpaced the Newcastle
defence down the right flank and when his low cross was missed by Boumson, van Nistelrooy
was on hand to hoof the loose ball into the bottom corner of the net from
eight yards. 0-2
Full time: Newcastle 0 Manchester 2
Press conference duties were handled by coach Alan
was a calculated risk. We tested them through the week and
they worked hard. It was a gamble but you can't replicate
match situations. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked.
preying on Dyer's mind. What he needs is a run of five, six,
seven games with the team, injury free. Hopefully that'll ease
Emre we think it's the same again. He'll have a scan and we'll
know a bit more about it then.
got an abductor strain, but it's not too serious. He couldn't
make changes in pace and it was best for him to come off.
manager's fine, it's just a change of face, change of scenery.
It's not a problem.
know we need a bit of luck, we'll take a shinner now. We'll
take one off somebody's backside. The first goal's going to be
important for us.
got lots of positives to take out of the game. We more than
matched Man United when we had our first XI out and they are a
very good side, make no mistake about that.
won't feel sorry for ourselves. We can take lots of positives
out of the game. We'll use the break to regroup and get
everybody back, and hopefully the internationals won't come
back with anything major and we can prepare for the next home
Manchester United chief Alex Ferguson
"It was an important
result because Newcastle were a very determined team - very,
very difficult to break down. We stepped up our passing in the
second half and played with increased pace, which we needed to
do because we were far too slow in the first half.
"Newcastle had a lot of pressure in the first half and
one or two dangerous moments in our penalty box but we created
chances - although it's about taking them.
"But once we got in front I was quite confident. Our
second goal was a great example for any person who wants to
get to the very top. Wayne has a fantastic work ethic.
"It wasn't a great performance but we were determined in
the defensive part of our game, our goalkeeper was excellent
and we had a solid look about us.
"The two young boys (Rooney and Ronaldo) are
fantastic, just incredible.
"It's great to see them enjoy themselves in training and
in the dressing room."
Premiership debut for Albert Luque, who becomes the 117th
player to appear for us in that competition.
We've now failed to score in our opening four league games and
SJP spectators haven't seen a Premiership win in the last six games.
By contrast, our visitors have yet to concede a goal in their 3 league
fixtures to date (5 including Europe)
Souness @ NUFC Premiership record: P37, W9, D13, L15
Reds in toon - Premiership:
93/94 drew 1-1 Cole
94/95 drew 1-1 Kitson
95/96 lost 0-1 no scorer
96/97 won 5-0 Peacock, Ginola, Ferdinand, Shearer, Albert
97/98 lost 0-1 no scorer
98/99 lost 1-2 Solano
99/00 won 3-0 Ferguson, Shearer 2
00/01 drew 1-1 Glass
01/02 won 4-3 Robert, Lee, Dabizas, Brown og.
02/03 lost 2-6 Jenas, Ameobi
03/04 lost 1-2 Shearer
04/05 lost 1-3 Shearer
05/06 lost 0-2 no scorer
Ruud van Nistelrooy has now
played in this fixture five times:
01/02 lost 3-4 van Nistelrooy, Giggs, Veron
02/03 won 6-2 Solskjaer,
Scholes 3, Giggs, van Nistelrooy
03/04 won 2-1 van Nistelrooy, Scholes
04/05 won 3-1 Rooney 2, van Nistelrooy
05/06 won 2-0 Rooney, van Nistelrooy
Rooney v NUFC:
2002/03 NUFC 3 EFC 3 Rooney 1 - in shootout (LC)
2002/03 NUFC 2 EFC 1 Rooney 0
2002/03 EFC 2 NUFC 1 Rooney 1
2003/04 EFC 2 NUFC 2 Rooney 0
2004/05 NUFC 1 MUFC 3 Rooney 2
2004/05 NUFC 1 MUFC 4 Rooney 0 (FAC)
2004/05 MUFC 2 NUFC 1 Rooney 1
2005/06 NUFC 0 MUFC 2 Rooney 1
A day of gambles
then - none of which came off for our Manager, who has now officially been
accorded "beleaguered" status by the media.
Throwing in the unfit Emre and Dyer ultimately failed to pay off for Souness, as
neither of them were able to provide that spark of creativity so sadly lacking
in our three games so far.
And their departure from the field, coupled with the later substitution through
injury of Bowyer gave our side a familiar, tired look - Ameobi wandering around,
nobody prepared to take the initiative
and either get wide or into the final third of the field and Shearer marooned up front,
attempting knockdowns to nobody. Utterly stale, utterly depressing - a waste of
my time, your time, everybody's time.
While Boumsong's double rick ultimately cost us twice, equally disheartening was
seeing him punt the ball forward time and again, giving Rio & Co. some
heading practice and Shearer a stiff neck.
Things had looked rather better in the opening exchanges, with the visitors
seeming a little out of sorts and susceptible to our early bullishness, Shearer
and new boy Luque both earning free kicks as they unsettled their opponents.
For the Spanish debutant there was much to learn - with an interpreter on the
touchline and a whole new style of play to instantly adapt to, one where
dwelling on the ball in a manner acceptable in the Primera Liga isn't the wisest
An early effort from a saved Shearer shot was rightly ruled out, while another
half-chance that saw the ball drop between volleying and heading height saw him
balloon the ball high and wide.
Unfortunately what should have been a first taste of his new club ultimately
became a full-blown immersion by the end, as the use of subs for the three
injuries meant the tiring debutant had to remain on the field until the bitter
As might be expected, the appearance on the field of the reds and Roy Keane sent
the blood pumping round the captain's system at an increased rate and Shearer
strained every sinew in the cause - including his tongue, as he kept up a
mini-barrage on referee Webb in the face of infringements - real and imagined.
And for a while in the first half, we almost got things right.
Packing the midfield isn't the most positive of ploys for a home manager, but in
doing so Souness lessened the chances of the multiple goal mauling some had
It also had the temporary effect of bringing Babayaro and Carr into the game as
our wide men - both players looking threatening as they attempted to deliver the
killer ball into the area.
Unfortunately the tactical reshuffle and introduction of Jenas meant we weren't
able to contuine with this ploy, ultimately degenerating into a shapeless mess
by the time Faye was brought on (why Lee Clark wasn't on the bench remains a
mystery - bloody Jeff Clarke would have given us more than the listless man from
So 55 minutes into the game and with only Parker remaining of the starting
midfield, things were starting to slide back to the blandness of Wednesday.
However we had crucially held out and kept the contest even - partly due to good
work from Given and Taylor and partly due to some profligacy from the visitors.
If ever fate was going to deal us something, anything it was now - be it a
dubious penalty or an unkind deflection.
Nothing was forthcoming though - hardly surprising, given our continued lack of
threat in front of goal, which overshadows all of our efforts elsewhere on the
Confidence is low and brittle - this game was lost as soon as Boumsong allowed
the ball to reach Rooney, as it had been when Diouf got his head on the
cross at the Reebok. Score a goal and you've beaten us.
This correspondent certainly didn't see a way back - and neither did the rest of
the team, or crowd judging by the all-pervading mood of resignation.
Whatever Souness thought about the whole thing, he chose not to share it with
the fans afterwards. His glass certainly seems half-empty at the minute though -
with a hole in it.
Quite what good now bunking off to Spain with a handful of first teamers and
reserves does for anyone is unclear, but
keeping out of the eye of the storm by leaving the region may be the only chance
Souness has to clear his head and face the challenges of the coming months.
Down by our bootstraps as we are, the cards seem stacked against Souness, who
for various reasons doesn't have many trump cards left to play. Ill-fortune,
desperation, botched medical advice and unprofessional attitudes from some
members of his squad don't help though.
Looking for bright spots at this time in
our history isn't a rewarding task, when to make a mistake is to lose a game.
Now that really is an unsustainable situation.
Having consistently spoken up about the gaps in
the squad, he now has less players now than when he first made that statement
Striker efforts notwithstanding, Souness has to plan for the visit of Fulham next
though, with that opportunity for him and 52,000 other footballing experts to
compare and contrast Luque with Luis Boa Morte - and pass judgement on that
And then a week later, the possible return of Bellamy against us at an Ewood
Park that will take great delight in reminding Souness of his current problems
at every opportunity. Then straight after that a grudge match at Manchester City
with Andy Cole - oh, and then the return of the Hampshire Geordies to Tyneside -
who at least can't torture us with Laurent Robert.......
It doesn't get any easier - and without a strike partner for Shearer, it's game
Why Owen would want to come here remains a mystery, but on the 23rd
anniversary of Keegan's debut, our need for an inspirational signing is as pressing
now than it was back then. If not then we're doomed to wander in the wilderness
- something in years to come will seem almost deliberate when trying to make
sense of our baffling transfer policy.
Our immediate post-match comments:
blunders from Jean-Alain Boumsong and another fitness farce cost
us dear, despite a spirited performance against Fergie's
tumbling Old Trafford clowns.
goalless and winless streak continued as a full house, Sven-Goran
Eriksson and Sky viewers saw Newcastle undone for the third time
by Wayne Rooney - Shrek Part 3, if you like.
Albert Luque showed some promise but missed two decent chances
and had another ruled out for offside but at least we threatened
the opposition goal in an encouraging first half.
Unfortunately our plans were scuppered inside the first 37
minutes when Emre and Kieron Dyer limped off having pulled the
hamstrings that have kept them out of the last two Premiership
apparently passed fitness tests on Friday but once again players
have been brought back too quickly from injury only to see their
time on the treatment tabled lengthened further.
fitness staff now have an appalling record for losing players
through muscle strains, pulls and tears and for recurrences of
the same injuries. Can a club really be this unlucky?
minutes into the second period Lee Bowyer hobbled off with a
groin strain and Amdy Faye replaced him leaving us hoping for no
further ailments. Faye may have come off himself but quickly had
a head wound stapled at the side of the pitch to keep eleven
bodies still on the field.
goals were personal nightmare for Boumsong. With the first he
allowed Rooney to ghost in behind a harmless looking punt
upfield and the England striker lashed the ball past Given. Our
keeper had made a fine save in the first half to deny Ruud van
second goal came in injury time as Boumsong failed to cut out a
cross and this time van Nistelrooy finished easily from close
players who were able to complete the game deserved a little
more for their efforts but we never quite looked the same as the
reshuffles disrupted our game plan.
Shearer looked a little more like his old self and was involved
in some decent tussles with Silvestre and Heinze - the
Argentinean full-back treating us to his own version of 57
varieties; that's 57 different ways to go down clutching his
face despite minimal contact with other parts of his anatomy.
was an absolute disgrace with his theatrics as was van
Nistelrooy while Silvestre and O'Shea were particularly
unpleasant with their underhand tactics.
part, Stephen Carr was lucky to stay on the pitch after tugging
Ronaldo to the ground but it served the Portugal winger right
for his diving and attempts to get our players booked.
just the one point and no Premiership goals tells its own story
and September 10th seems a long way off when we get our next
chance to find the net and claim three desperately-needed points.