Monday, October 08, 2007

Turk that

Newcastle Utd 3 - 2 Everton

Back on Tyneside after a rough time on the road, and Newcastle returned to winning ways with a flurry of goals at St James' Park yesterday.

Opting to reshuffle his defence after the poor performance against Man City last weekend, Habib Beye was joined by the returning Cacapa, with Abdoulaye Faye and Jose Enrique handed their first league starts for the club. With Enrique in the side, Allardyce was finally able to push N'Zogbia into midfield, and give Milner a run on the right, whilst up front Smith joined Martins with Owen on the bench mere days after his latest bout of surgery.

It was the home side who started the brighter too, with Smith setting Martins through on goal only for our number 9 to shank his shot horribly wide. The Nigerian seemingly capable of the breathtaking, but less proficient when putting away more mundane chances. With Butt and Geremi performing solidly in midfield, and with Everton having both Johnson and Yakubu on the bench the visitors didn't appear to threaten, and it was a strong Newcastle performance in the first half which finally saw the deadlock broken when the Toffees failed clearance fell to Butt on the edge of the box, who controlled the ball before astutely lifting the ball over his one-time colleague Tim Howard into the far corner of the Leazes net.

Half time saw Johnson introduced from the bench, as David Moyes sought to press for an equaliser, which duly arrived moments later when the former Palace striker was allowed to slip away from Cacapa and Enrique to slot home from close range. Inevitably, this roused the visitors who sought to press home their advantage, and Newcastle began to look far less certain.

With fifteen minutes left to go, Allardyce opted for fresh legs, with Owen replacing Martins (to a chorus of boos, at least some, but not all, of which came from the visitors) and Emre on for Milner.

Immediately into the fray, Owen looked lively and forced a smart save from Howard having cut in from the left. However it was the Turk who had the bigger impact. Clearly demonstrating the vision and guile which our midfield has so far lacked this season, Emre seized on control of the match. His first significant contribution being the twenty five yard belter he fired into the goal to restore our lead, before minutes later lofting in a free kick from the left onto the shoulder of the unmarked Owen to knock into the Gallowgate net.

There was still time for Given to palm Arteta's lofted cross into his own goal, but with seconds remaining on the clock Newcastle were able to play out the remaining moments without further cause for alarm and go into the international break having overhauled Everton to take up ninth in the table.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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