Half time: Newcastle 0 Dubnica 0
James Milner swung the ball in from the Strawberry
corner and it fell perfectly for Alan Shearer to head home.
Alan Shearer doubled the advantage with a header at the Gallowgate
End following a right wing Stephen Carr cross.
Full time: Newcastle 2 Dubnica 0
Graeme Souness said:
"We would like to have scored earlier,
but we've been patient and got our just rewards. And the crowd of 25,000 was
quite remarkable - they were patient too and eventually got the goals they
"There was no dispute about Alan
Shearer's goals today - and I'm delighted for him. The other pleasing points are
that we've got through and won a tie 5-1 when we've played first after only two
weeks, and then after only 17 days of training.
"We knew that this team went to Turkey
and won 4-0 and expected them today to play everyone behind the ball with the
striker being the exception. So we were obliged to chase the game, but we've won
it 5-1 in the tie after being back training for just two weeks.
Chops would be unlikely for Wednesday but I
don't think he can come back after what happened. It will depend on the doctors.
JJ is feeling his groin-cum-hamstring, but it might be more of a worry
with his back."
Dubnica coach Ľubo Nosickż said:
"This is a beautiful stadium.
"We didn't come here with the expectation of victory. But we wanted to play
good football and I wanted the lads to enjoy this game and this occasion.
"We have never played in front of so
many spectators before and it played psychologically on our players. They were a
bit shaken, and that's why they lost quite a few balls at the beginning. But we
settled and did well in midfield, although there was no danger up front from us.
"We were concentrating on the defence
and trying to do our best to score a few goals. It was when we opened up near
the end that we conceded the two goals."
Shearer's first ended a 394 minute drought in front of goal for
a Toon player at SJP, stretching back to April 2005 (and not counting
Geremi's own goal on the final day of last season).
That's now 194 for the number 9 in our colours and the at
Milburn record comes a little closer. For the record they were also
the first goals Al has ever scored in this competition and the first
occasion he's ever netted competitively in July.
Those two goals extended Shearer's European scoring record for the
club to 30 while Shay Given extended the European appearance
record to 52.
We had wondered whether we'd set a
new low European home attendance, but a decent walk up on the day
comfortably eclipsed the 19,046 here
against Dublin side Bohemians in the 1977/78 UEFA Cup.
was the smallest gate for a competitive first team match since the
ground capacity was extended above 50,000 in 2000, just under the 25,633
here for the League Cup game against Brentford in September
It was also our smallest home
Intertoto attendance to date: 29,021 for Lokeren, 36,635 for 1860
Munich and 36,577 for Troyes.)
Two second half headers from Alan Shearer
ended his ten game personal goal drought and gave a healthy St. James' Park
crowd of 25,000 plus something to cheer on Saturday.
With large queues around the ground before kick-off, the 15,000 advance
ticket sales were always going to receive a hefty boost and so it proved,
with families and youngsters much in evidence.
However, it took 11 minutes before the home fans had something to shout
about, Jermaine Jenas shooting over at the Leazes end after James Milner had
won possession from a Dubnica throw-in down by the corner flag.
Within a minute, Shearer then showed for the first time, putting his shot
wide of the goal.
The visiting 'keeper was called into serious action for the first time on 21
minutes, diving low to his left to tip Milner's shot round the post for a
And the Magpies came even closer to opening the scoring two minutes later,
when Jenas saw his free kick beat the motionless Dubnica 'keeper but strike
the crossbar, Amdy Faye unable to keep his header down in putting the
A goal looked imminent and nearly arrived within 60 seconds, as Jenas got on
the end of a right-wing free kick from Lee Bowyer, but placed his header too
close to the 'keeper, who was able to block.
However, things calmed down again with Newcastle struggling to create clear
opportunities and some loose play in the centre of the park seeing us lose
possession on a number of occasions.
Milner seemed to have a good penalty shout for handball denied on 33
minutes, while attention switched to the other end two minutes later, as
Shay Given saved comfortably - his first meaningful touch.
Graeme Souness attempted to inject some urgency into his attack by
introducing Michael Chopra in place of Jenas at the interval.
However, the striker needed treatment within seconds of appearing or
touching the ball, as he tangled with the visiting goalkeeper and seemed to
take an accidental blow in the face.
Stretchered off for treatment behind the Gallowgate goal, he did reappear on
the field some four minutes later but looked groggy and soon made way for
We continued to lack imagination going forward and with a lack of free-kicks
or corners being won to give us a springboard to launch attacks and Dubnica
managed a couple of unsuccessful upfield forays of their own.
Just after the hour, Charles N'Zogbia worked an opening in similar fashion
to that which had brought a goal last weekend, but this time his shot passed
across the face of goal with nobody able to get that vital touch.
But with Dubnica beginning to tire, we at last broke the deadlock on 71
minutes, as Bowyer saw his shot saved at the expense of a corner.
Milner swung the ball in from the Strawberry corner and it fell perfectly
for Shearer to head home, to the relief of all concerned.
Having made the breakthrough, we then went in search of further goals and
Bowyer had a shot on goal before Shearer attempted to claim a spot-kick
after being bundled over by the 'keeper.
We almost doubled our lead on 86 minutes thanks to the same combination that
opened the scoring, but this time Shearer met Milner's cross from the right
wing with his head - only to strike the crossbar.
However, the number nine was not to be denied his 30th European goal for the
club, Shearer heading home Carr's cross from the right seconds after the end
of normal time to round things off.
An hour after our game finished, news broke from Croatia that Deportivo had
won 3-0 at Koprivnica to complete a 4-0 aggregate success and provide our
semi final opposition.
Aside from it being a geographically difficult trip for toon fans, our first
visit to the Riazor Stadium promises to be a tough one where we may be
employed in keeping the score down ahead of the second leg on Tyneside.
It's debatable whether we really need to qualify for the UEFA Cup as Freddy
Shepherd continually states - certainly Souness would point at the
experience of last season as evidence that our Premiership form suffered
from regular midweek diversions into Europe.
But while we may not get past Deportivo (or if we do then the final
opponents of either Marseille or Lazio), they will provide opposition for
two games that should test us to the full at this stage of our
Regardless of the eventual result, our problem is that we're not in a
position to give anything like our preferred first XI that examination -
injuries and signing problems meaning that we're still having to pick a
formation to suit what players we have, rather than vice versa.
That increases the chances of Intertoto failure and places yet more pressure
on Souness, who knows his time could be short.
For evidence of that, one needs to look no further than the 25,000 season
ticket holders not at this Dubnica game despite the low entry cost - and the
veiled criticism of the performance from various newspaper reporters the
Happy new season.