No 'Clout' Without Shearer
NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Ramage, Bramble (Luque 55), Boumsong,Elliott, Solano, Parker, Bowyer, N'Zogbia, Emre, Ameobi.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Faye, Clark, Chopra.
CHARLTON ATH: Myhre, Young, Perry, Hreidarsson, Spector, Kishishev,Holland, Hughes (Euell 70), Ambrose, Marcus Bent, Darren Bent.
Subs Not Used: El Karkouri, Powell, Randolph, Bothroyd.
The Magpies dominated much of the game despite having to do without skipper Alan Shearer and Kieron Dyer, but didn't have the class upfront to break down a very average team hanging on for dear life. Shola Ameobi, regardless of him saying he wants Shearer's number nine shirt next season, will never become a Newcastle legend. Sir Bobby said it, I'm sure Graeme Souness knew it, and Glenn Roeder can do very little to replace him. So for the time being, until Shearer and Michael Owen return, we have to live with it.
It was a frustrating night for the temporary boss as his side enjoyed enough possession to have won the game comfortably, but Ameobi passed up a glorious opportunity to win it 14 minutes from time when he powered a free header over the bar.
Roeder has managed in the space of a few short weeks to do something Graeme Souness failed to achieve for much of his reign, to create a level of expectation on Tyneside. Even without Shearer and Dyer, two men who have done much to lift the gloom over St James' Park in recent weeks, there was a belief that the Magpies could win a third successive Premiership game and a fourth in all competitions.
That feeling was largely reinforced by a first-half display which promised much, although delivered little in terms of tangible results.
Despite options being limited, £9.5million summer signing Albert Luque was again consigned to the bench - with Turkey midfielder Emre asked to help link a midfield quartet in which Lee Bowyer was recalled with lone striker Ameobi.
The former Inter Milan star's infectious enthusiasm was matched by the endeavour of Bowyer, Nolberto Solano, Charles N'Zogbia and the hugely impressive Charlton old boy Scott Parker. But perhaps more significantly, Titus Bramble and Jean-Alain Boumsong actually looked comfortable on the ball.
Former Magpie Darren Ambrose went closest for the Londoners before the break with a curling free-kick and a late drive which was blocked by Boumsong, but the traffic was mostly one way.
Ameobi had a 37th-minute strike ruled out for offside, but it was to defender Boumsong that the best chance had fallen seven minutes earlier when Solano picked him out unmarked with a long free-kick, but he directed his header straight at Myhre.
If anything, Charlton finished the game the stronger as Newcastle ran out of steam and ideas, but Given and his patched-up defence managed to hold out to at least preserve Roeder's unbeaten run.