Thursday, February 01, 2007

Back with a bang

Newcastle Utd 3 - 1 Aston Villa

Three goals, three points and up to ninth in the table represented a good return for Glenn Roeder's men last night against a side rejuvenated by the transfer window.

With Aston Villa having flexed Randy Lerner's cheque book to acquire a new strike force, it was something of a pleasant surprise to see Newcastle roar back after their 10 day break and go two goals up inside the opening seven minutes. There was a degree of irony that it was James Milner (who could have been a Villa player but for our failure to sign Mark Viduka last August) who did the damage, scoring the first with yet another thumping twenty yard effort, before turning provider and allowing Kieron Dyer to score a rare headed goal.

With Sorensen looking shaky in the visitors' goal, Newcastle pressed forward, and Scott Parker was unlucky to see a long-range effort crash back off the woodwork. Had that gone in, then the game would probably have been over inside twenty minutes.

Instead, the visitors started to string some passes together, and from a corner Ashley Young was able to score on his debut, forcing the ball home after some pretty lacklustre attempts to clear the ball by the Newcastle defence.

With Villa now sensing a come back, Carew and Young began to form what could prove to be a very effective partnership, with the former seeing an effort come back off the post.

The second half started with another villa attack, this time Harper saving brilliantly to deny Agbonlahor, and Villa again looked the more likely to score a goal, Carew seeing one effort ruled out for a foul on Sibierski (a decision which could easily have gone the other way without too many complaints.)

In the end though, Newcastle were able to weather the storm, and in the last minutes, Duff broke free down the left before squaring for Sibierski to thrash the ball home and secure the points.

On the positive side, Duff and Bramble both look like they survived the full 90 minutes, with Milner and Dyer both continuing their good goal-scoring form. On the downside, Butt limped off before half time with a knee injury and our defence still looks shaky. It's now 14 games since our last clean sheet (away to Eintracht Frankfurt).

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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