29mins: Boateng was credited with the final touch as Ameobi's looping header
to the far post was bundled in by a combination of home and away players.
Both Bramble and Bowyer later admitted they'd celebrated with each thinking
the other one had got a touch. 1-0
44mins: Ameobi struck with a low shot on the verge of
half-time from the right side of the box after Carr's venture into the box
had ended with the ball deflecting nicely into the path of the Newcastle
Half time: Middlesbrough 0 Newcastle 2
Full time: Middlesbrough 1 Newcastle 2
79mins: Boateng fired the ball goalwards from the edge of the area and
Given was set to make a comfortable save before Bramble's knee intervened,
wrong-footing the 'keeper. 2-1
"It was a tough game and
there was lots of honest, controlled aggression from my players, which is
what you want as a manager.
"When you have that you're going
to give free-kicks away, but I have no complaints against the referee.
"He saw them as yellow cards, so let's
be big boys and get on with it."
About our penalty claim:
"It was a nailed-on penalty but referees do not know
whether to stick or twist because there is so much diving.
"One game at a time but we are now revved up and looking forward to Wigan
next week. We will let the league table look after itself but we have kept
our season alive.
"You only get three points out of it but it's a tiny bit more special
because it's a local derby and there's a controlled rivalry.
"My happiness comes from sending those fans home happy.
"I was very strong with the players when I spoke to them before the game,
that we had to come out of the blocks fast. We didn't want a slow start.
"You saw the euphoria and you weren't sure whether they would have another
high or a flat performance. In the last 15 minutes we stood up to be
counted, which we haven't done at times this season and have been
criticised for that.
"But we cannot be criticised. What they did to Basle they couldn't
do to us."
Steve McClaren said:
"We finished the game
strongly, we were searching for an equaliser and we were on top.
"We ran out of time this week but we've got bigger priorities, everyone
"It was always going to be difficult after Thursday and we've got a big game
"There's a big prize at stake and that's what we've focused and targeted
over the last couple of months. As I say that's what we're prioritising.
"Last minute goals don't happen too often over a season and we've had two in
the last couple of weeks, asking for a third was a bit too much.
"I don't like losing football matches, and it's a local derby and we're all
disappointed but we have to put things in perspective."
"It was always going to be a difficult afternoon, they're always difficult
after Europe and especially after Thursday's euphoria and the way we won the
"Conceding two goals was perhaps the most disappointing part of the
afternoon but credit to the players, they could have easily stayed flat but
they had a go in the second half, got a goal back and very nearly did it.
"I could easily say we had two penalty appeals turned down but I'm not going
to make excuses."
Toon on Smogside - Premiership
2005/06: Won 2-1 OG, Ameobi
2004/05: Drew 2-2 Bellamy, Shearer
2003/04: Won 1-0 Ameobi
2002/03: Lost 0-1
2001/02: Won 4-1 Shearer 2, Dabizas, Robert
2000/01: Won 3-1 Shearer, Goma, Dyer.
1999/00: Drew 2-2 Speed, Pistone
1998/99: Drew 2-2 Charvet, Dabizas
1996/97: Won 1-0 Ferdinand
1995/96: Won 2-1 Watson, Ferdinand
First time that Shola
Ameobi has scored in consecutive games since May 2004 (Southampton
away and Liverpool away).
Proof positive that there is a God then, but he's not all-powerful.
Season after season we have to make the trek to this barren land, but we're
then rewarded for our pilgrimage with the gift of points - usually in
multiples of three.
Ten league visits to the Riverside now for the Magpies and this latest
success means that we've still only tasted defeat once in that sequence of
And had the smoggies not risked the wrath of the Almighty by conjuring up a
false plague of snow in 2002, we'd have beaten them then - rather than
dubiously losing a game rearranged between fixtures against Chelsea and
Inter Milan later that season.
At that point three years ago we could justifiably claim that there were bigger
fish to fry, in the shape of a trip to the San Siro. And while McClaren and his
men sought to trot out the same line about recovering from the Basel comeback
and preparing for Wednesday's FA Cup replay against Charlton, the reality was
somewhat different among the rank and file of Teesside.
Try as we may, we just can't get excited about this being about local pride or
whatever twaddle Century radio trot out to try and justify their
coverage/existence. We even query the validity of this being labeled a derby at
Checking out our laid-back response to that 2003 loss, it merely confirmed that
it's just another game in our eyes. Contrast that though to those post-match
phone-in ranters wailing about having lost to what bonkers Bernie Slaven
insisted on calling "the enemy." That's mature.
The deluded old jock then pronounced that this game was on a par with old firm
matches in Glasgow.....in your own mind Bernie, your own very small mind. That
has to be the most misguided waffle since Gullit's rubbishing of the Tyne-wear
fixture in comparison to Milan's own city set-to.
No, this game really mattered to the fans and losing to them Geordies sticks in
the collective smogland gullet.
In a word, hilarious.
One final point
though - if it's such a big deal to the smoggy supporters, why then don't
they travel to SJP in greater numbers than the pitiful handful that has been
scattered across level seven in recent seasons? They can't all have ASBOs
And while we're talking
about daftness, let's focus on what passes for humour round these parts - a
seventies throwback named Mark Page and his witty record collection, given time
off from hospital radio these days presumably.
After the avalanche of snow-related and eye-related tunes on previous visits, this time his
"gag" consisted of playing the theme to TV cop show "The
Bill", to which the local muppets brayed on about Newcastle staying in to
watch the telly.
A strange attitude to take methinks, given that only 24,549 showed up for the
midweek UEFA game here, nearly 7,000 less than appeared for our visit.
So many of those in the home section shouting the odds were doing so in the
knowledge that they themselves had got no further than their front room, on what
is being (mistakenly) billed as the greatest comeback since Lazarus.
Oh, and an officially-sanctioned hand-written bedsheet in the ground backed up
this message - that's classy. Small town in Europe? small town in Siberia more
like. Or Jupiter.
Full marks once again though to the travelling Toon fans as they provided their
own renditions of the smoggy Pigbag anthem after both our goals - and then went
collectively bananas as said tune was played to welcome the home side back on to
the field for the second half. Me Mark Page didn't like that and sharp turned
off his gramophone.....which made not a blind bit of difference.
Two goals up at the interval having had the better of the first half, we then
assumed total control for the next twenty minutes or so, but without finding
third goal - Lee Bowyer's angled effort and Nobby Solano's deflected
free-kick being the closest we came.
And it was the Peruvian's replacement by Dyer that resulted in us losing our
shape and allowed Boro back into the game, Boateng's effort at the right end
leading to some late nerves as Boro forced a series of free -kicks and corners
to belatedly rouse home fans from their slumbers.
However, any hopes of a second Riverside comeback in four days were stifled
by some stout defending - Shay Given making one great diving stop and Robbie
Elliott supplying some strong tackles as we sat too deep at times for
Ameobi and Bowyer continued where they had left off against Spurs with
decent displays, but some sub-standard passing from Emre disrupted our
forward momentum in the first half and his poor crossing after the break was
also a source of frustration.
No goal on his Riverside farewell for Shearer though, who threw caution to the
winds and himself headlong into opponents as the final whistle loomed. He then
celebrated at the end by leathering the ball into the away end, before leaving
the field with a wide grin. Practicing for Easter Monday, obviously.
With Albert Luque and Michael Owen injured, Scott Parker ill and Jean-Alain Boumsong not even
in the squad, United were without over £38m worth of players and only eight
of the sixteen Glenn Roeder named for duty cost us a transfer fee. Funny old
To summarise then; United on Teesside: taking the points, taking the
Long may it continue.