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Season 2004-05
 West Bromwich Albion (h) Premiership


Date: Saturday 25th September 2004, 3pm

Venue: SJP

slightly dull, dry and calm


Newcastle United

West Brom

3 - 1



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

We Said

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."

They Said

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."  


First goal in toon colours for James Milner - his sixth in the Premiership (5 for Leeds). 

Now only Nicky Butt from the quartet of high-profile summer signings is still to get off the mark.

First time since the 4-0 win over Spurs in December 2003 that we've scored three goals in one half of a Premiership game at home - that was at the Gallowgate end as well but achieved in 11 minutes rather than the 16 it took today.

Second opposition player to be dismissed in as many home games - Soan of Sakhnin went off on 60 minutes, three minutes sooner that Purse.

A goal for Alan Shearer in his 250th Premiership appearance for Newcastle.

Shearer scored for his 7th* (and last...?) Newcastle manager, with Steve Clarke being the only manager not to preside over a goal from Big Al:

Keegan, Dalglish, Cox/McDermott, Gullit, Robson, Carver, Souness.

* Counting the Cox/McDermott caretaker duo as just one "manager".


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.

A change to introduce some orthodox wide play seemed odds on at half time, but the front trio of Kluivert, Shearer and Bellamy re-emerged to reprise their first half roles: the Welshman trying to work the channels but never quite getting his runs timed right or his passes away at the right pace, the Dutchman meandering through midfield but never quite on the front line and the Englishman continually looking for something approaching a chance to seize on.

Things did change in the second half though, when Souness picked up on the fact that Bellamy was twisting his face as much as he apparently did his ankle and was in danger of letting his frustrations get the better of him. That allowed the rested Robert a chance to strut his stuff, having apparently impressed in training and straight away he supplied the missing ingredient - runs to crucial areas towards the byline and well-struck crosses, be they pull backs or swooping early efforts.

By the time Albion were reduced to ten men, we'd found an increasing fluidity that wasn't solely due to the numerical advantage and once Jenas started to emulate Robert on the opposite flank we looked increasingly potent as the game wore on and gaps began to appear in the Baggies' backline.

Throw in some tantalising play from Milner and a first goal for the lad, and by the end even Horsfield's late goal wasn't enough to spoil the mood of increasing optimism across the stands. There was even a quick chorus of the Blaydon Races sweeping round for a second or two - giddy stuff.

Trees weren't pulled up, but we stuck to our task and the crowd didn't start giving players stick (probably a good thing though that Dyer and Shola were absent, as there's nowt more galling than seeing players apparently coasting when things aren't going quite according to plan).

Another three points were duly collected from what was a must-win game and it's normal service here on Tyneside - at least for the moment. There are enough average teams still to come up here and try to stonewall us and we continue to have enough talent to get past them, even if it's not always as instant as some would like.

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.

Points collected, goals scored, smiles on faces. Cloughie was right - it is a simple game. Now let's see whether our good fettle and form survive a visit to some desolate wasteland where heathens wait at every turn to frustrate and antagonise us - but before Birmingham City at St.Andrews it's Sakhnin.......

Whether our fitness and fortune is still intact after the next three hours of football remains to be seen - both games promise to tax us more than the Albion. Stand by for the next dispatch from the trenches, brought to you from a backstreet boozer in downtown Tel Aviv. And let's hope we're not singing what a waste of shekels.



Page last updated 25 September, 2012