4th November 2002, 3pm.
St. James' Park
clouds on the horizon at present
66 seconds Ormerod and
Caldwell tussled for the ball down the right and it bounced for
O'Brien to clear. However his hooked ball fell straight into the path of Beattie,
and without breaking stride the in-form striker cracked in a lethal
right-footed shot that flew past Given in the Leazes goal via his right
hand upright. 0-1
41 mins A Griffin through
ball found Dyer on the right of the opposition area, but he seemed
to have missed his chance to centre the ball but twisted towards the
byline and evaded Bridge, before crossing low for Ameobi to force
his way past Lundekvam and knock the ball home from close range. 1-1
Half time: Newcastle
1 Southampton 1
54 mins Viana galloped
through centre field as opponents dithered about making a decisive tackle
and slipped the ball across to the left hand side of the Saints box into a
space beyond both Ameobi and cluster of defenders. Galloping on to it was Hughes
and he toook a touch with his left foot before toe-poking the ball with his right
past Niemi low into the
opposite corner of the goal 2-1
Full time: Newcastle 2 Southampton 1
Sir Bobby commented:
had a terrific week. We've gone to sixth with a game in hand and I've got
nothing but praise for the players because of what we did on Wednesday and
we've done it again.
"A lot of people thought we would
drop points, but we haven't.
"The players summoned up massive
reserves of energy. Nobody flagged and we gave a very competitive,
combative performance with a fair amount of quality."
massive reserves of energy. This team really amazes me at times.
"For 20 minutes
we were poor. We weren't jet-lagged because we'd only been on the plane an
hour in midweek, but we were travel-weary.
"Then for the
last 20 minutes of the half we were like the Newcastle United I know we
can be. We picked up our rhythm, we were three yards faster and we started
to win the personal duels.
brilliance helped turn the match. It was brilliant work to turn his
opponent in the box, hit the byeline and stay calm to pick Shola Ameobi
"We should have
had a penalty - the referee made a big mistake - but we still managed to
get the win.
benefited from a good match in Feyenoord and some briefing about playing
in the position for us and it was a beautiful pass for Aaron Hughes' goal
that won the game.
"It was a shame
it (Shearer's goal) didn't come on Saturday because I think Alan
would have liked to get it against one of his former clubs, but it will
"But at the start of the second half
he told me that if he had made a mistake then he apologised. He can't say
more than that. I am sure he will know he has made a mistake once he sees
Alan Shearer said:
About the penalty:
"The referee told me he thought the
keeper touched the ball and pushed it out for a corner which I find
About his old side:
did very well and pushed us all the way. They gave us an almighty scare
and to come back and take three points was a big win for us.
"Gone are the days where people are
looking at Saints to go down. That is the job Gordon Strachan had done. I
am a big admirer of him. He is a tremendous manager and I have the utmost
respect for him - and not just because he praised my display!
"He has done a good job and they
have improved a lot in the last few years. Whether they can make the top
half is another matter.
"It is always going to be hard
for them because they will never have the finances of the really big
clubs. If they are having a bad time they can go and spend £20m on a
player but Southampton cannot do that.
"But they are a tough side to
beat and we struggled to beat them - and so did Manchester United by all
"It has been a tough week for us
with the game in Europe on Wednesday and I'm sure Saints came here
thinking they could take all three points. They gave us a mountain to
climb but we responded well.
"It was always going to be hard
for us after the midweek euphoria and for the first 20 minutes we could
not find each other with a pass but once we equalised we were the only
team that was going to win it."
game can be simplified - if we had had Alan Shearer we would have won.
They had him and they won - that's it. It was a fantastic performance, a
world-class display and we could not handle it. If he had been on our side
and given that performance we would have won.
"He makes everyone play better.
Every aspect of his game was good. If any young player wants to learn how
to play centre-forward they should get a video of this game and study
"We had a good start and had two
or three chances to make it 2-0 but we did not take them so in that sense
we have only ourselves to blame.
"We played better at Liverpool
and Man Utd than we did here and while people say we have not got the rub
of the green I am a believer in ability and that was shown today."
Goalkeeper Anti Niemi spoke:
"I did catch him (Shearer) but I am not sure if I got my
fingers to the ball first. It was 50-50, sometimes they are given,
sometimes they are not.
"I don't panic - I am pretty
laid-back. But when I heard the whistle I thought he might have given a
penalty. Luckily for me he did not.
"Alan Shearer was certainly not
play-acting though. You could tell from his reaction he thought he
deserved a penalty. And what a player he still is by the way!
"I have hardly ever seen better
at holding the ball up. He is good in the air and very strong. He is a
"That is the big difference from
Scottish football. There you can make the occasional mistake and not get
punished but the quality of strikers in the Premiership means they will
"This was probably our poorest
performance for a while. We started well and had a few chances to make it
2-0 and if we had done that then we might well have won because that would
have been a pretty comfortable lead and we are pretty solid at the back.
"But after the first half hour we
gave the ball away too easily. It was like we were afraid to keep it and
in the second half we looked happy to be in our own half and take what
"We have done a lot better than
that in recent weeks and set ourselves standards but the results have not
been great in recent weeks - and next we are up against Arsenal, probably
the best team in the league!"
Six times we've played Champions League
Group games this season and six times we've won the following Premiership
match - a tremendous record and testament to the ability and commitment of
the side. Add the qualifying games to this and it becomes seven wins and
one draw, the memorable Liverpool fight back preventing a perfect return.
In 1997/98 we didn't do quite so well, but a return of four wins, three
draws and a defeat is still better than many other Premiership sides have
A belated birthday present to himself of
a third Premiership goal for Aaron Hughes.
The Northern Ireland defender has popped up with one or two goals,
including the first Premiership one of the Robson era, getting the 8-0
demolition of Sheffield Wednesday underway at the Gallowgate end with a
He also opened the scoring in a victory at Goodison that same 1999/00
season and secured a cup double on the road in 2001/02. Two similar headed
efforts firstly secured victory over 1860 Munich in the Olympic Stadium
and then sealed the win over Peterborough in the FA Cup.
Shearer still looking for that 100th Premiership strike for the
Club statistics claim this was our 800th top-level league home
victory, and our 1,400th win in all competitions as Newcastle
Stats v Southampton (home and
away) P77, W29, D17, L31 F113 A106
Last 10 v Saints at SJP:
2002/03: Won 2-1 Ameobi, Hughes
2001/02: Won 3-1 Shearer 2, Robert
2000/01: Drew 1-1 Gallacher
1999/00: Won 5-0 Ferguson 2, Solano, Dryden og, Dabizas
1998/99: Won 4-0 Shearer 2, Marshall og, Ketsbaia
1997/98: Won 2-1 Barnes 2
1996/97: Lost 0-1 No scorer
1995/96: Won 1-0 Lee
1994/95: Won 5-1 Watson 2, Cole 2, Lee
1993/94: Lost 1-2 Cole
The appearance of any team managed by Gordon Strachan at St.James' Park
normally yields a rich harvest of pitch-side antics, not to mention the odd nugget in the press conference.
Often mocked for his belligerent stance when interviewed, Strachan is at least likely to be brutally honest about his own side, as well as
consistently appalled by the contribution of the match officials.
Maybe it's that combination of shortness, red haired-ness and scottish-ness that makes the ginger whinger into some sort of footballing Ronnie
Corbett, with a dash of chic Murray thrown in. At least he's funnier than sourpuss
Today however Strachan took his text from the gospel of Shearer, preferring to join Sir Bobby in cranking out admiring comments about
the former Saint and current Magpie inspiration. Presumably taking that line was preferable to another diatribe about officialdom helping
the bigger club, or a moan about the awayday shortcomings of his own side.
While Shearer was involved throughout the game and obviously hungry for the goal that would complete a toon league century of strikes, for
wee Gordon to claim he was the difference between the two sides is to
undervalue the contribution of the rest of those clad in black and white.
Despite the fact his St.Mary's Stadium assailant was missing from the visiting
line up, Dyer in particular seemed to have something to prove
and set about his work with something approaching relish.
After making the opener for Shola with a neat run and centre, he embarked upon a number of his trademark surges into the opposition
box in the second half, something not seen often enough in recent months. Happily the lad completed ninety minutes without looking in
any discomfort and was a deserved recipient of the man of the match trinket.
Dyer's directness seemed to dovetail well with Viana, who buzzed around in various parts of the field, not just his allocated left side berth.
While that showcased some of his talents, it did mean though that we didn't have a great deal of width on either flank, Solano being confined
to a benchside seat all afternoon.
Speed and Jenas again teamed up in midfield, with the elder statesman again earning his money as the young pretender showed some
frustration at a succession of poor passes, but kept battling on regardless.
Meanwhile at the back Given had little to do after disconsolately hoofing
the ball out of his own net in the opening minutes, and both Caldwell and
O'Brien had their moments, the latter hitting a series of long-range
passes that his colleagues didn't always anticipate quickly enough to
However, while everything eventually turned out alright on the afternoon, it again took an opposition goal to focus the minds of both team and
crowd. It's tempting to say that both groups shrugged off this setback, content in the knowledge that coming from behind is our forte, but the
animated manner of the Newcastle manager in the early stages betrayed
his unhappiness with the situation.
Speaking of Bobby, he certainly seems to be recovering from his fall, given the animated nature performance from the touchline throughout the
afternoon. A full repertoire of head pointing and traffic directing was capped by a prize fighter-like twin-fist-raised salute at the final
He even managed to outdo Strachan in the trespassing stakes - advancing a full three yards onto the field to instruct
Dyer at one stage. Wee
Gordon by contrast got no further than sticking his toes outside the technical area
before vexing the fourth official and being shooed away.
The equaliser brought the crowd to life and Shearer then tried to follow up the earning of a free kick with what looked like a valid penalty
claim. However referee Wilkes didn't agree and was ultimately forced to book our protesting captain, partially because he was standing so
close that the ref couldn't see the continuing play.
That's four bookings for Shearer this season - as many as in the whole of last
season, and in the main for strenuous appealing. It's of course part of
his game and a major source of irritation to his detractors. That and
kicking people in the face of course.
However, as we've previously discussed within these pages, his influence
on the referee in the Kiev home game arguably got us the all-important
penalty - as much for the seeds of doubt placed earlier than for the actual
offence. Lose one part of his game and others suffer.
After the break we carried on attacking the Saints, and what proved to be the winner duly arrived via the unlikely source of Aaron Hughes' right
boot. A further effort by Dyer and a Shearer header cleared off the line would have sealed the victory, but
we then seemed to collectively
expire at that point, with around 10 minutes remaining.
Finally the exertions of recent weeks seemed to be catching up with us, and as the ball kept getting cleared only to return back into our half of
the field, there was genuine concern that we'd end the game as we started,
conceding a goal.
However, fortune smiled on us in the form of one or two shots that went over rather than wide, a crucial slip or two from Saints players, and a
blatant handball from a toon player that went unpunished but saw Strachan in full jack-in-the-box mode.
Had Southampton had a magician like they once did we might have been
punished in eye-catching style, but the gap in their armoury left by
Le Tissier is a large and unfilled one.
Eventually the familiar figure of Shearer taking the ball all the way down
the right flank to the corner flag signalled that we'd ridden out the minor storm, and the referee duly
blew for time.
As has often been the case in this fixture, we ultimately had too much for the Saints to do anything other than march away without any points.
However, although the period either side of the break showed flashes of our attacking style, the slack start and gasping finish are
best forgotten. A great result.
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