Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Royal romp

Newcastle Utd 3 - 0 Reading

A three goal home win, providing us with our third maximum in as many games all but ensured our Premier League survival for another season on Saturday. Playing host to Reading, Newcastle set about the visitors with the vigour of a side growing in confidence and attacking flair, and sure enough our three man strike force all found their names on the score sheet.

After an initial burst by Reading - typified by a nutmeg on David Edgar (promoted from the bench due to Steven Taylor's illness) - Newcastle began to assert their authority, and less than 20 minutes had passed when Martins cut inside his full-back to take Nicky Butt's ball and beat Andre Bikey before slotting the ball past Marcus Hanneman at the Leazes end.

Shortly before half time, Michael Owen scored his fourth in as many games with an excellent hooked finish from Habib Beye's chipped cross. With Mark Viduka adding a third in the second half, after further good work from Beye, the result was secured.

Looking at the game as a whole, it was really positive to see us pick up another clean sheet, and continue our run of good goalscoring form. As well as Owen's renaissance in a Peter Beardsley-esque role, the excellent performances from Beye and ASBO were strong positives to take from the game.

Going forward, whilst not yet mathematically safe, our future looks secure and it is now a case for Keegan to sit down with Mort and Ashley, and decide who they want and how much they are willing to spend to get them. Keegan himself has highlighted the fact that we only have one left back and one holding midfielder in the squad. With the Zog almost certain to depart (and with Shola and probably Emre also looking for the door) we need to look to strengthen the squad in all departments for the recent renaissance to carry momentum into next season.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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