mackems (h) Premiership
34 mins A drastically improved Shola Ameobi bulleted home a header at the Leazes end, after he was left unmarked at an Emre corner. Peter Ramage's head-slapping celebration is worthy of note as the players celebrate en masse in the Leazes/Milburn corner 1-0
35 mins The scores were level barely 90 seconds later, when Liam Lawrence hit a 25-yarder beyond Shay Given 1-1.
37 mins Back came United and after a Stephen Carr cross to the far post was hooked back by Charles N'Zogbia, Ameobi's strong challenge forced former Magpie Stephen Caldwell to put it through his own goal. Both touched it but the Scotsman looked to get the last contact: Shola Ameobi claimed it and the FA dubious goals committee later agreed. 2-1
41 mins Stephen Elliott was given far too much room (Jean-Alain Boumsong particularly culpable) although the strike was sufficiently good to leave fellow countryman Given grasping at thin air 2-2
Half time: Newcastle 2 mackems 2
63 mins Caldwell fouled Ameobi just under 30 yards from goal. Nolberto Solano tried a practice air shot, Alan Shearer loomed behind the ball - andEmre promptly stepped up and hit the perfect outswinger that hit the post and nestled into Kelvin Davis' goal. Wonderful. 3-2
Full time: Newcastle 3 mackems 2
Graeme Souness commented:
"That was a cracking advert for the Premiership and the north east. I love derby games. I was tempted to say beforehand that derbies have always been kind to me, but I didn't want to tempt providence on this occasion.
"I'm just delighted to come away with the three points, but no, there's no relief in winning this match.
"The problem for me, and hopefully it's sooner rather than later, is that I am going to have to fall out with them simply because I have had no decisions to make. I want them knocking on my door on Friday after training when I have told them the team, but right now they are all on side because I have not had to leave anybody out.
"Even the big players I have not had to say 'sorry, but this is the reason you are not starting tomorrow', and I want that problem. Any manager wants that problem.
"We have taken criticism, but that's part of the deal because we have not lived up to expectations. But if any team is without the likes of Kieron, Nobby Emre and Albert, then they are going to be less attractive. That's commonsense.
"We have got two of the best goal-getters in football, but we have not been creative, and the reason for that is we have not had our creative players on the pitch, and that's why we have been what we have been in recent weeks.
"In the first half, when we had Nobby and Emre in there, we played some really good football. But as I have said all along, judge us when we have everybody fit.
"If everybody had been fit we would have taken Scott Parker and Stephen Carr off at half-time. Scott suffered a dead leg on his thigh and Stephen was having problems with his groin.
"Credit to Sunderland they played a big part in what was a cracking game of football, but I felt we were dominant in the first half and played very well until half-time.
love derby games. I was going to say before yesterday's game
that they have been kind to me in my career, but I didn't want
to tempt fate. I am delighted we got three points and I am
delighted for my team, who are a cracking bunch of lads.
for the second one you could have had two goalkeepers in there
and they wouldn't have stopped it."
have been solid so far this season and have two of the best
goal-getters in world football, but we have not been creating,
because we haven't had our creative players like Emre, Nobby,
Kieron Dyer and Albert Luque on the pitch. As we have said all
the long judge us when we get everybody fit."
"Our supporters have to understand that there is a player in there waiting to come out - and he came out today. If you turn up at the training ground you will see that two days out of five he is unplayable, not just in terms of his physique because he is a big, powerful man, but also with his touch and control.
"We have to get that
off the training ground and onto the pitch like we did
"It is something I want to produce because I know the player is inside me and I want to bring it out more like against Sunderland.
"I have to be fully focused in every game and I am certain that this can be the starting point for me to show people what I can do. I am seeing a lot of people to try to work on it - it is early days yet, but it proved valuable against Sunderland.
"It is about having the confidence to go out and play how I know I can - that is the bottom line."
Alan Shearer said:
"There's always pressure because there's 52,000 fans here demanding success. That's pressure in its own right and if you can't handle it then you shouldn't be here.
"But we can handle it, the manager can handle it, and now we can go and have a good night tonight on the back of what is a great result for everyone at this club.
"The fans can also
have a good day tomorrow because we've got the bragging rights
after what is an important win.
Mick McMackem said:
"There's a sense of
pride, but no sense of injustice because these are things that
happen in the game. I never doubted they
would get a free-kick on the edge of our box at some stage,
while we should have had a penalty.
"But such is life. What I do feel is that the width of the crossbar has been the difference between a great performance and a great result and me sat here p*ssed off because we've been beaten.
"I felt we were the better side in the second half, but it doesn't matter now because they are the ones with the bragging rights."
involved in this game (and that includes Graeme Souness), Steve Caldwell was perhaps
best placed to be wary of the man filling in for the missing Michael Owen.
Both made first team debuts in September 2000, the Scotsman getting on the scoresheet first
and then grabbing his only Premiership goal against the smoggies in 2002, when
Shola also netted.
I suppose that
it would be churlish not to mention the part the mackems played in what was the
most memorable and breathless encounter in recent years between the sides.
So, a day when
nobody on the field let us down and we almost had heroes to spare.