31mins Direct football of a devastating
simplicity. Andy O'Brien's free kick from midway in his own half was floated forward
to Alan Shearer, who nodded it on into the path of the unshackled Craig
galloped forward and neatly lobbed the ball over the onrushing keeper into the
empty Leazes end goal. 1-0
Kieron Dyer picked the ball up and scampered forward, unimpeded by meaningful
challenges. Enter the Frenchman, who unselfishly squared the ball for Craig
to prod home 2-0
Half time: Newcastle 2 NAC Breda 0
59mins Laurent Robert's flag kick from the Strawberry corner was headed home powerfully by
Titus Bramble 3-0
Robert rolled the ball infield to Alan Shearer from a
free kick outside the Breda box. As the defensive wall stood apparently
mesmerised, big Al had time to take a couple of touches, look up and drive his
shot home low to the 'keeper's right. What he wouldn't give to have that sort of
space in the Premiership. 4-0
The icing on the cake for the Magpies and the tin lid on it for the Dutch. Having
been on the pitch for barely ten minutes, Darren Ambrose found himself totally
unmarked on the edge of the Breda six yard box and steered his header home
from.....you guessed it, a Laurent Robert centre from the left 5-0
Full time: Newcastle 5 NAC Breda 0
Sir Bobby said:
"I said to our players, 'You've got to think that you're not
playing Breda, you've got to think that you're playing Barcelona, Inter Milan,
Juventus, that's the level you've got to think you're playing against.
Breda are going to be like that, I don't know, I don't care, you've got to
think it's a difficult game and you've got to be full of running and have
a winning appetite. The mood of the team has got to be outstanding.
"And we went for
it and we gave Breda a very difficult game. I didn't think for a moment
we'd win by five - I thought we could win by two, something like that. I
know the quality of our team."
"It was obviously a very important win
and we were back to something like our best that you saw many times last season.
"I always felt
we had the ability to do that. It was always a question of time, patience
and support and we'd be okay. It was important that we finally won in
front of our home public, and to score goals.
important thing in the first half, for me, was Shay Given, who made two
wonderful saves. At half-time, we went in 2-0 and it could have been 2-2.
"Shay made two
very, very good saves, but in the second half, obviously, we subdued them,
submerged them really, and then when the third goal went in, it was very
difficult for them.
chugging away, but with respect to them, we probably had too much on the
pitch for them overall. They had some good players, but it was a difficult
night for them.
"We've all been
under pressure. We needed to win and we needed to win well, and we've done
it. It can only do us a power of good.
over because we have to go over there and play, so it can't be. But it
would be a catastrophe if we lost 6-0."
Home debutant and goalscorer Darren Ambrose
"A goal has been coming for me, I have hit the bar a few times for the reserves and had a few missed opportunities.
So to get out there and make my home debut plus score has just been a bonus for me.
"I was delighted to be called into the squad after playing on Monday night and then to be on the bench as well, I am just really pleased.
"It was a great game to come into leading four - nil and I think we answered some of the critics. Hopefully now we can take that performance into the league and Arsenal on Friday
Coach Ton Lokhoff
"I'm devastated. I expected a
rough night but nothing like this. I thought my team were well below their
normal standards. Eighty to 90 per cent of my players didn't play well.
"In the first
half I thought we were doing quite well but when it got to 4-0 I realised
that it was game over. We have to win the second-leg 6-0 and that is
Speed made their 29th appearances for the
club in European competition, a new record.
NUFC in all European competitions:
Played:92 Won:47 Drawn:19 Lost:26
Goals for:160 Goals against:100
Fairs Cup / UEFA / CWC / CL only (ie no anglo-Italian or intertoto):
Played:73 Won:36 Drawn:13 Lost:24
Goals for:119 Goals against:81
Messrs Ambrose and Bramble netted their first senior
strikes for the club - joining Silvio Maric and Paul Robinson
in doing so in the UEFA Cup.
Runs, passes, shots, headers.....goals. Ambassador, with this
entertainment you are spoiling us.
Football returned to St.James' Park on Wednesday night after an
absence during which the whole of Tyneside and toon pockets of
resistance further afield had been plunged into something of a
black mood. Happy new season.
It's amazing what a couple of goals can do for restoring faith
in ones team, or colleagues. The problems at the club between
different players may not have been cleared, but displays and
scorelines like this don't half paper over the cracks.
Thankfully, ninety minutes of frustration on Saturday hadn't
extinguished the stirrings of solidity and determination that
had been evident at
Our recent shortcomings on the field and consequent uncertainties
were banished in grand style, with Robert especially turning the
clock back to serve up a performance almost Ginola-esque at
times in his hunger to be positive and damage the opposition.
And if the fans revelled in his deliveries and dribbles,
Shepherd and Robson were probably the two most relieved men in
the ground - grateful that their bollockings had finally sunk in
and Robert was doing his talking on the wing, not on the web.
We've said in most of our match reports so far in this campaign
that nothing was going right for us at all; that everyone was on
a collective downer. Well, we may have had our celebrations
tempered by news of Woodgate's seemingly inevitable trip to the
operating theatre, but everywhere else across the field there
were plus points.
A groin strain suffered by Solano and Bowyer still paying for
sins of a previous sporting life gave Robson the opportunity to
play Dyer down the right, and while his energy levels were as
high as usual, his focus seemed better and his dashing around
more meaningful. And that allowed Jenas a spot in the side and a
chance to remind those watching of his quality.
Add to that a visiting defence which didn't hassle Bellamy to such an
extent that the red mist descended and his effectiveness
disappeared up his own posterior and suddenly we were in
Further icing on the cake was provided by the opportunity to
slip Hughes back in for a confidence-boosting return to the fray
and the goal-den moment from Ambrose - would that Chopra had
been as fortunate in his cameo appearances so far.
But the biggest plus of all, even more so than another decent
performance by Titus, some keen tackling by Bernard or Bellamy's
goalscoring, was Robert's display.
Frustration beyond belief from the lad at times, but when he can
play like this he's worth every penny and it's difficult to find
an equivalent player in England away from Old Trafford or
Highbury. One dribble in the opening part
of the game when he swept through a trio of Breda players with a
mixture of skill and strength was almost worth turning out for
on it's own - an all-too rare "gan on son" moment.
There remain certain
"situations" to be addressed - such as whether Speed
can play another 90 minutes just 48 hours after this good
performance and whether LuaLua
or Caldwell will be forgiven for their transgressions (playing
for the Congo and hesitating over a contract respectively). But thankfully for tonight at least there were plenty
positive things to talk about and conspiracy theories remained
unaired (that's apart from the one about Breda not trying as
hard as they might of course....)
Those who were there or managed to find a bar with Dutch telly
will be able to form their own opinions as to the strength of
the opposition. While it's true that Given had his fingers
warmed on a couple of occasions in the first half, there must
also be a grain of truth in the observation by the other half of
NUFC.com that Ajax cannot be ower clever.
As ever, some perspective is required here. There are Division
One sides who would have been more difficult to beat and perhaps
only Wolves in the present top-flight have been as exposed at
the back this season. However, regardless of who we were
playing, this was a country mile ahead of anything we've
suffered so far, as we rediscovered the rudiments of passing
accurately, moving sensibly and crossing the ball
The challenge of Friday night in London is still to be faced and
it's arguable that we could hardly be playing Arsenal at a worse
time, with their siege mentality at it's height....and all those
suspensions yet to kick in.
However, let's just be thankful that players, supporters,
manager and pressmen can now make the trip with renewed
confidence and an at least an air of optimism that the corner
has been turned, whether of not it's the Highbury one..
Certainly if Robert can emulate this level of performance
against more cynical and streetwise defenders and evoke memories
of his display there in December 2001, then it might not be all one-way
Page last updated
31 October, 2019