West Bromwich Albion (h) Premiership
Half time: Newcastle 0 West Brom 0
70 mins Robert put in an early cross from the left that bounced in front of Hoult. The 'keeper could only push the ball out to Kluivert who lashed it inside the post and past the man on the line from 12 yards. 1-0
78 mins A long ball was hoofed forward and Scimeca could only direct a poor header into the path of Jenas. JJ skipped past a challenge and crossed for Milner who scuffed his first shot but gleefully thumped the ball over the line from point blank range into the empty Gallowgate net 2-0
86 mins Jenas romped to the byline down our right and pulled the ball back to the unmarked Shearer. The ball almost got caught under Al's feet but he was still able to prod it goalwards with enough force to beat the 'keeper and man on the line. 3-0
87 mins Johnson crossed a diagonal ball from the right and the unmarked Horsfield ghosted in at the far post to lift a header over Given into the far corner. 3-1
Full time: Newcastle 3 West Brom 1
Graeme Souness said:
"If you get the ball into the opposition box, Alan Shearer would be the biggest nuisance you could possibly have if you were playing against him. He's got power, he's got the eye for the goal and he's as brave as a lion.
"If you keep getting the ball into the box, sooner or later, somebody's going to go to sleep and he'll take his chance.
"Patrick is a class act. We didn't see the best of Patrick in the formation, I think, in the first half, we didn't use him correctly. We felt with them having a big back four, with Patrick and Alan up front would maybe play into their hands a wee bit, and we wanted Craig Bellamy to run in behind them, beyond them.
"But in saying that, I still think we had enough of the ball to cause them problems in the first half, especially down the right hand side - Stephen Carr must have crossed half a dozen balls into the box."
"Gary Megson will point to the sending-off as being a critical moment, but I felt it was only a matter of time before we got to them - we scored three goals and could have scored more.
"I think their game plan was something we'll see a great deal of here - it was certainly my game plan when I brought teams here, which was to try to frustrate the players of Newcastle, frustrate the supporters here and hopefully some of that nervousness would spread on to the pitch.
"You have to give West Brom credit. They're fighting for their lives. There was no way they were going to come here and make life easy for us."
West Brom boss Gary Megson moaned:
"I think if you take the two bookings in isolation, I thought the first one was a bit soft and the second one was even softer.
"If centre-halves are going to get sent off for those kind of things, then you're going to be down to 10 men and fewer on more and more occasions.
"The challenge on Kanu when he was through and I felt the last man, it's very hard to take. When you go down to 10 men against a talented side or a side with a great deal of talented players, then you're going to have problems.
"They scored at a good time with a one-man advantage and the second goal really killed us off."
And so the honeymoon continued for Graeme Souness and his side, as his first Premiership home game had a happy ending for all concerned - except old boy Gary Megson.
However, were it not for some hot-blooded gallic intervention from Monsieur Robert, plus the premature ejection of one of the visiting players, then we could have been facing the prospect of an annulment due to our failure to consummate the marriage.
After a first half that saw us string together the occasional passage of decent football, but frustratingly fail to test Hoult in the Albion goal, muted applause greeted the departure of the teams at half time - had Sir Bobby been present, he may have reflected that after a goalless 45 minutes more than once his charges had been jeered from the SJP pitch.....
From the off we looked very narrow going forward,
despite the forays of Carr and Bernard down the flanks and with the visitors
defending in numbers it made for a congested afternoon in the midfield. In terms
of threat to Given's goal, the much-vaunted Earnshaw proved to be a little off
the pace and wasted his best opening through miscontrol, while his partner Kanu
ploughed a lonely furrow up front, vainly trying to inspire his colleagues and
expending large amounts of energy galloping around the field - he never had to
run around this much at Highbury.
As to whether this was pretty - it's purely in the eye
of the beholder. If meaningless sideways 40 yard passes are a thing of beauty to
some, then seeing someone in a black and white shirt fight to get to the byline
and then sweep the ball back for a colleague to bang it home is the Mona Lisa
for this correspondent. And there's nowt enigmatic about hitting the back of the
net - whether it's a goal bonus or not, it's always the money shot for wor lot.