4 mins An early breakthrough at the
Holte End, as Milner's excellent cross from the left flank was headed home
at the front post by Michael Owen for his second goal in successive
Half time: Aston Villa 0 Newcastle 1
48 mins After failing to trouble the scorer in his previous 75 outings
for Villa, Wilfred Bouma's
low shot took enough of a deflection off the returning Beye to deceive Given
- who sustained a groin pull as he unsuccessfully tried to stretch for the ball.
51 mins Young's
corner from the left was glanced home by John Carew, aided by Duff
having deserted his covering spot at the far post. 1-2
72 mins The
ball pinging around our area in farcical fashion before Carew knocked
Carr's handball allowed Carew to complete his
hat trick from the penalty spot - the
first spot kick we'd conceded this season. 1-4
Full time: Aston Villa 4 Newcastle 1
Kevin Keegan commented:
"We can't do anything signing-wise so
we'll have to do our work on the training ground.
reality is you go into a club because there are problems. They are mine to solve
now and it's a big challenge. It's not just a case of waving a magic wand.
"We played very well early on for a
team that has not been having results go for us and we built the platform for a
victory by taking the lead.
"Sadly half the second half came and
I'm baffled by what happened because it was the same players but we never really
got going after the break.
"Their first goal was a hammer blow and
our goalkeeper got injured at the same time and when they got their second we
had a mountain to climb.
"I knew when I took the job we had some very tough games.
"All but one of the away matches were against sides in the top half of the
table and we've got Manchester United and Chelsea at home.
"We have got enough to be a Premier League club next season but you have
still got to get to that 40 point mark no matter what type of club you
Martin O'Neill said:
is fantastic, but we want to put the averages up. There is a consistency that,
no doubt, he can achieve.
"We are delighted to have won the game
and it keeps us going. To a certain extent it takes away the memory of last
Sunday and now we have got to try and push on.
"It was a game of two halves. We were
very tentative, which was probably a feeling of last week.
"Here the onus was on us to attack.
Newcastle played very well. They kept the ball nicely, by half-time they
definitely deserved to be in front.
"We had to try and do something about
it and the players' and fans' response was fantastic.
"'It was fantastic stuff in the second half. I thought the first half was
getting away from us a bit and there was a definite hangover from the Fulham
"I thought the substitutes had a big impact and made a real
"They added more drive and determination to our play - but that's not
knocking Olof and Stiliyan who have been big players for us this season."
Villa v Toon: Premiership
Premiership goal of the season for Michael Owen - and all of them
Steve Harper made his 99th senior appearance for Newcastle and
notched up playing for another manager in the process (he was at SJP under
Keegan but not in the first team setup).
Since keeping a clean sheet in the FA Cup at
Stoke, our last four away trips have seen us concede no less than
sixteen goals - fifteen of those coming in the second half of games:
Manchester United: 49, 55, 70, 85, 88, 90mins.
Arsenal FAC: 51, 83, 89mins.
Arsenal: 40, 72, 80mins.
Aston Villa: 48, 51, 72, 90mins
Full record against Villa:
Carew's treble scoring feat
was the first home hat-trick by a Villan since Savo Milosevic in 1995.
It was also the tenth time in
the Premiership that we've conceded three or more goals to the same player
in the same game:
09.02.08 Villa (a) Carew 39mins
12.01.08 Man U (a) Ronaldo 39mins
12.04.03 Man U (h) Scholes 18mins
23.11.02 Man U (a) van Nistelrooy 15mins
05.05.01 Liverpool (a) Owen 56mins
09.12.00 Arsenal (a) Parlour 74mins
30.08.99 Man U (a) Cole 51 mins (scored 4)
30.08.98 Liverpool (h) Owen 15mins
30.09.96 Villa (h) Yorke 65 mins
04.12.94 Spurs (a) Sheringham 56mins
By contrast our heroes have registered seven triple salvoes in the
Premiership for us:
17.12.05 West Ham (a) Owen 85mins
19.09.99 Sheff Weds (h) Shearer 12mins (scored 5)
02.02.97 Leicester (h) Shearer 13mins
21.10.95 Wimbledon (h) Ferdinand 28mins
23.02.94 Coventry (h) Cole 44mins
21.11.93 Liverpool (h) Cole 26mins
30.10.93 Wimbledon (h) Beardsley 35mins
(figure quoted in minutes is from scoring first to third goal i.e. total
time taken for hat trick)
The sun shone, the fans sang, the
ball had been in the back of the opposition net and counted - and the world
generally looked a nicer place.
And then we changed ends.
Another absolutely shambolic second half showing away from home left no-one in
any doubt that our principal target this season is now to maintain Premiership
Owen had given us the best possible start with a goal that should have
provided a platform to reverse our recent poor run of form, especially on a
ground we've traditionally gained points at.
However, we failed to engineer a second goal during 40 minutes of the meekest
football from the home side that Villa Park has endured since Martin O'Neill
And although we repelled the beginnings of a fight back before the interval,
those warnings just weren't heeded. And as has often been the case, we
spectacularly imploded in a second half horror show that left travelling fans
standing in stunned silence.
Two quick goals after the break sent us into an alarming downward spiral, with
Given departing at that point with what was diagnosed as a groin strain -nine
minutes after the arrival on the field of Marlon Harewood, who when at West
Ham had caused the 'keeper serious injuries 17 months ago.
With Harper appearing between the posts things stabilised
for a while, the 'keeper making two vital instinctive stops.
He could do nothing however to bring calm to a defence who then took us to a new
level of defensive incompetence, before Carr's needless handball then put the
tin lid on it.
So, no win in nine Premiership games under Sam/Nigel/Kevin, with our fans bemused,
press box occupants writing with undisguised glee while the rest of the nation
Not like it was in brochure then, but is any of this KK's fault?
There were certainly some aspects of today's team selection and sub deployment
that we quibbled with, including Emre's belated introduction when we were two
goals behind and the non -appearance of Viduka despite our all-too-evident
problems upfield in the second half.
And if Enrique was fit enough to be on the bench, his absence in favour of Carr
playing on the opposite flank was a puzzle - although we were pleased to see
Beye back in our colours.
Meanwhile Faye sat unused after Villa brought on the burly Harewood to double
the physical threat up front - and promptly exposed Cacapa's physical
But despite all of those 20/20 hindsight criticisms, the fact remains that we
deservedly led at the interval, having played reasonably well against a
much-fancied Villa side.
Across the pitch people looked committed, with Carr getting through a good
deal of work up and down the left wing and Owen more interested and
industrious than at any time we can recall since he joined us.
Maybe some old-fashioned unity had broken out and the wise words of the
manager were having an effect?
Unfortunately what we believed to be an outbreak of competence and a semblance
of confidence seeping back into the team proved to be
nothing more than flatulence.
The inept and disinterested duo of Barton and Smith had seemed like the odd ones out in the opening 45, but from
the restart the rest of the side dropped down to their level.
Allardyce's legacy to this club is saddling us with this pair of charlatans: one with the
distraction of unfinished off-field business, the other apparently suffering
from football amnesia.
Both have shown precisely nothing in our colours to justify their selection.
Come back Amdy Faye, come back Antoine Sibierski.
So we now have a fixtureless fortnight to endure without even the distraction
of international matches - plenty of time then for more rain forests to be
sacrificed, as the world and their significant others lay into the whole damn
lot of us in the press.
It's becoming increasingly difficult though to provide a riposte to their
taunts, as we continue on a downward spiral in much the same feckless manner
Quite simply, the same players who put Sam on his bike have kept on keeping on
in their own sweet way.
That's a canny way to repay the loyalty of the new boss, who no doubt added
another couple of names to his discard list on the bus home, despite whatever
previous public pronouncements of support he may have made.
Points are desperately needed - but it's hard to see where they will come from
at this time.
We don't have a team equipped for a relegation fight - ninety minute 110%ers
are currently in short supply hereabouts.
Are they bothered? Knowing there's a good chance many of those will be
departing from this particular gravy train in the summer regardless of
whatever league we're in, we suspect not.
Two weeks then before we embark upon the final dozen games that will decide
That stern test against Manchester United is hardly the best of fixtures to
start turning things around, but there has to be some evidence there that
we're giving it a go for all of the ninety minutes.
While tactics, selection and motivation are all factors, in the final analysis
this has got nothing to do with Keegan, Shearer or anyone else who doesn't
have a current squad number on their back.
Big players, big wages, big reputations - and currently big