Hughes picked up a loose ball midway inside our half and attempted a ball
through to the scampering Bellamy. Riggott should have easily cut the ball
out but missed it and away went Bellamy to round Schwarzer and tuck
it into the net with two defenders helpless to prevent it. 1-0
Middlesbrough 0 Newcastle 1
defending as Hasselbaink was left unmarked down the right and his cross found an
equally unattended Downing, who had time to steady himself and fire past
Given although the keeper got a hand to it. 1-1
played a neat ball to Shola on the edge of the box and he just got a toe to the
ball as Zenden challenged. The barge from the Boro man was clumsy and enough to persuade
ref Bennett that it was a penalty. Shearer stepped up and fired
powerfully into the top left corner in front of the away fans -Schwarzer guessing correctly but unable
to get near the ball. 2-1
picked up the ball down the left and took advantage of a slip by Dyer to break forward and bend a cross into the six yard box. Mendieta - in an offside
position - missed it but Hasselbaink was at the far post to bundle the
ball in with his hand after missing it with his head. The linesman and ref
missed both offences. 2-2
Middlesbrough 2 Newcastle 2
Sir Bobby said:
"It was a good open game, both teams had a go and they never gave up after
twice going behind. We did this so many times last year when winning games and
giving it away.
"It was a classic derby - nip and tuck,
everybody nip and everybody tuck - but we are disappointed to lose it. You are
winning 2-1 away from home and you've got to win it.
"Their second goal was very questionable. He was between Olivier Bernard
and Shola Ameobi, and missed it with his head and knocked it in with his hand.
"Don't let them tell
you anything different. The linesman has let us down.
"The players are upset
as well. We could have been 3-1 up when Jermaine Jenas got into a strikers
position but shot wide.
"I thought we coped very well. They did not turn us round and Hasselbaink
clearly handled the ball. Sometimes you get decisions, sometimes you don't.
"We are winning 2-1 away from home and
need every decision, but they got out of jail."
On the Dyer stories:
"I had a long discussion with Kieron on Friday, I felt when it came to
picking the team that Nicky Butt and Jermaine Jenas were in a fitter condition.
"It's utter rubbish to say we had a
row. If Kieron is unhappy, he should come and tell me. I didn't know that Keiron
has a camp - I know he has a nice house.
"I don't know where these wild stories come from."
Alan Shearer commented:
"This is the same old scenario from last season. We do not seem to have
learned the lessons about conceding late goals. It has already cost us two
points this season."
"I've just seen it on TV and
he stooped low and headed it in at the far post. "He said it was
a goal and the ref gave it so it is a goal."
"Obviously I am pleased with the point after we were twice
behind. It was a typical first-day game, very scrappy at times.
Newcastle played well but my players showed tremendous character to
come back twice. I was pleased with their attitude and commitment.
"There is a
lot more work to put in before we can become a good side. Hasselbaink
made a goal and got the equaliser, so I was pleased with his
Smogside - Premiership
2004/05: Drew 2-2 Bellamy, Shearer
2003/04: Won 1-0 Ameobi
2002/03: Lost 0-1 No scorer
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
A day of milestones: One day after his 34th birthday and in the
first game of his final season, Alan Shearer
scored his 174th toon goal on the occasion of his 500th competitive
league appearance for Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle.
100th Newcastle appearance for Jermaine Jenas in all
competitions (78 starts.)
Craig Bellamy scored his 33rd Newcastle goal as he also
notched up 100 appearances for us in all competitions (92
Debuts for messrs Carr, Milner, Butt and Kluivert - the late
introduction of whom made him the 108th player to represent us
in the Premiership.
And the forgotten man Robbie Elliott made only his 30th
senior appearance since returning to SJP in July 2001.
started a Premiership game for us on April 23rd 2002 at Blackburn.
Until today's return, we played another 78 league games of which
Robbie was needed for 1 minute of our home win over West Ham in August
2003 and the final 17 minutes of a home win over Liverpool on New
Years Day 2003.
The nearest Elliott came to playing last season was when he was
stripped and waiting to come on at Villa last April following the
dismissal of Andy O'Brien, only for Sir Bobby to change his mind and
First selection of Peter Ramage on the bench for a
Premiership game - he was wearing 42 but wasn't called upon.
Welcome back to the People's theatre.
When last you left us, our performing minstrels
were taking their leave at a sunny Anfield, after Michael Owen could only manage
one against us and that nice Gerard Houllier stood his troops down in the final
minutes (allegedly) to allow us that vital point for UEFA qualification.
Now 13 weeks later, Owen is a Galactico, Houliier is a manager without portfolio
and Sir Bobby's first team selection of the season included only three of those
who began our previous game.
In stark contrast to last summer's transfer embargo, old stagers and young
pretenders have departed while new blood has arrived, including....gasp, someone
who has actually won something....in England....this century!
But in reality, nothing has really changed.
Apart from Bellamy borrowing his fellow Welshman Robbie Savage's wig, that
Woodgate is still injured, we still cannot stop conceding late goals away from
home, we still cannot keep a clean sheet and thankfully we remain a thorn in the
side of the Smoggies on their own midden.
After another less-than-perfect pre-season, with some self-inflicted (Far
Eastern) misery followed by an it-could-only-happen-to-us infection scare, all
against a backdrop of internal friction between Chairman, Manager and Captain,
we'd probably have taken a point before the start of hostilities.
That didn't make the feeling of loss any more bearable when that second late
equaliser came, especially when later TV replays showed that Ameobi's penalty
claim had in fact been legitimate and Sir Bobby had been done by an illegal hand
for at least the second time in his career. And by a player as unloved as Mister
D. Maradona at that.....
But had it been Alan Shearer's paw at the other end, we'd all have been
hee-hawing our way to the bar and ironically hollering that damn pigbag jingle
yet again. As it was, by the time McClaren and his mob celebrated their release
from prison (minus those home fans who had already walked out), Shearer was a
Another replacement by Kluivert - with only
three minutes remaining - looked like no more than a vanity substitution but as
Robson virtually admitted afterwards, probably cost us dear as we repeatedly cleared our lines
only to surrender possession and come under renewed pressure once again.
Some trademark Shearer ball-shepherding into the corners then might have just
run the clock down sufficiently, but as was the case at Celtic, when the number
nine went off, his duties weren't fulfilled - to our cost.
We'd highlighted before the game that the likely appearance of our quartet of
new arrivals would be the largest influx of debutants since the 1999 season
opener when we lost at home to Villa. On that fateful day, Al saw red and warning bells were already
ringing as the body of the team rejected its multiple transplants, almost from
On that basis, there was much to admire in the performances of our new recruits
- notably Butt, who played like a man who'd been waiting for his chance for too
long, attacking the game and the opposition players with a zeal that put his
fellow midfielders to shame.
It was Jenas who should have celebrated his 100th appearance for the club with a
clinching third goal, but the number 4 alongside him looked more like he'd been there for the duration. Even Robert was infected with the
tackling and tracking back bug, albeit in a gallic strain.....
And down the right, both Milner and Carr put in decent shifts before they
started to wilt in the heat, the former showing some good balance and ball
skills but like his young England counterpart Ambrose being frustratingly
inconsistent with his final ball though. Early days though and easy to forget
he's still almost 6 months shy of his 19th birthday.
Carr also gave a good account of himself with some fearless challenges and a
physical presence that Hughes seldom showed in that position. However it's to be
hoped that his fitness will improve in the coming weeks and that his previous
injury problems won't restrict his contribution.
Kluivert we didn't see for long enough to form an impression but he did at least
move along the front line, a rare feat for a Newcastle centre forward and one
which seemed to bamboozle his new team mates. Bit puffy round the eyes though as
more than one onlooker commented - not quite jumpsuit Elvis in Vegas, but a few
sessions in the steam room rather than the Head of Steam could be in order...
But like the Boro, amidst the big names and
reputations, we were ultimately grateful to a home-grown player for some vital
work to secure what could have been three points, but never looked like being
less than one.
The Smoggies hailed young Stewart Downing for his goal - a local lad who was
farmed out to the mackems for part of last season - while our defensive gap was
plugged by the long-lost figure of Robbie Elliott, whose last game against the
Boro came almost two years to the day - in a reserve game at Gateshead Stadium,
that Downing also featured in.
In the absence of Woodgate, Bramble, O'Brien and Taylor, Elliott lined up in the
centre alongside Hughes and proved equal to whatever the home side could
muster in the way of an attacking threat. Not bad for a bloke who didn't cost us
a penny in transfers either time he joined us...
Precisely who we would have seen alongside him though had the Carr deal not gone
through is a moot point - either the inexperienced Ramage or even Shearer? We'll
never know what would have been said on the training ground, had that latter one
been suggested. And Kluivert started up front.
Just time to mention a good performance from Ameobi when he was introduced in an
unfamiliar left wing role - shame that his positive attitude wasn't shared by
Dyer, who came on and looked anything but motivated - and whose chief
contribution was falling over very easily to allow Zenden space to work in and
create the second home goal.
In truth this was a game that neither side
wanted to lose and despite our much-trumpeted selection issues, the vital
absence may well have been that of Southgate for the home side.
More positives than minuses then and not the clattering we'd forecast beforehand
- miserable old curmudgeons that we are.
Don't run away with the notion though that Elliott and Hughes were any more than
stopgaps - when Sir Bobby has finished fuming about that handball he'll no doubt
be wondering how the cross penetrated his six yard box with the minimum of
resistance. Elliott can go back to getting his money for turning out in the
reserves, until the next time we're short-handed - maybe at left back after
Two home games in quick succession now provide an ideal opportunity to get off
to that all important good start, but new boys Norwich and a Spurs side with a
new boss to impress won't be total pushovers - after all, there's no Carr for
Robert to run rings round this season and Huckerby as ever will have a point to
prove, to someone, somewhere.
Great to be back - but then we always say that.