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Newcastle Utd 1 Chelsea 0

NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Carr, Bramble, Moore, Babayaro,Solano (Boumsong 31), Faye, Emre, N'Zogbia, Chopra (Clark 77),Ameobi.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Elliott, Pattison.

CHELSEA: Pidgeley, Paulo Ferreira, Huth (Wright-Phillips 45),Ricardo Carvalho (Smith 81), Gallas, Johnson, Diarra, Maniche,Robben, Joe Cole, Duff (Carlton Cole 45).
Subs Not Used: Mancienne.

Att: 52,309

When Fat Fred was FINALLY hounded into sacking Graeme Souness, I feared the worst. Never mind Titus Bramble (of all people) sticking one over on 'the special one' and his title winners on the last day of the season to give us the chance of a UEFA Cup place ... but when Souness got the boot I think many of us would have settled for safety from RELEGATION! Yes, that was the mess we found ourselves in.

But the former Ipswich defender's 73rd-minute volley clinched three points and seventh place ahead of Bolton after the Mags were forced to play the last 15 minutes with 10 men following Stephen Carr's dismissal.

But the champions, I'm sure, will curse their luck as Mourinho saw his side have two second-half goals disallowed and his old player Celestine Babayaro escaped with a booking for a cynical trip on Arjen Robben as they slipped to a third defeat in four games.

Michael Owen's absence was no surprise, and must be a concern for England and the World Cup, and Jose Mourinho's team-sheet was without Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Michael Essien, Didier Drogba and Hernan Crespo. However, with Joe Cole, Damien Duff and Robben in the starting line-up, it was a side which still boasted quality and experience.

But if anything, the Magpies just about shaded the opening 45 minutes despite losing midfielder Nolberto Solano with a shin injury, his departure sparking a major reshuffle as Jean-Alain Boumsong was introduced into a three-man defence.

Pidgeley was to endure an uncomfortable opening to the game with Michael Chopra almost stealing in after he miscontrolled a Cole back-pass and Solano sending a 17th-minute free-kick inches wide.

French midfielder Charles N'Zogbia was causing all kinds of problems for right-back Glen Johnson, although too often did not make the most of the excellent positions he got himself into by misdirecting a series of crosses.

Solano departed on a stretcher to warm applause after a collision with Ricardo Carvalho as he went for goal with an acrobatic overhead kick.

However, in the meantime, his side had survived a major scare when Robert Huth's shot from a Duff corner clipped Joe Cole and ran just wide.

Duff should really have put the visitors ahead four minutes before the break when he was played in down the right, but his low shot was well saved by Republic of Ireland team-mate Shay Given.

And it was Newcastle who almost snatched a half-time advantage three minutes later when Chopra got a glimpse of goal, only for Gallas to make a timely interception.

Wright-Phillips had an immediate impact, sending in a dangerous 50th-minute cross and then forcing a good save from Given at his near post two minutes later.

Carr drove a long-range effort just wide after 56 minutes having been set up by Shola Ameobi, but it was at the other end that the home side's luck held.

Babayaro was desperately fortunate to see yellow rather than red on the hour after he cynically tripped Robben on his way towards goal, and there was more to come.

Joe Cole got the slightest of flicks to Robben's 63rd-minute cross and Gallas gleefully headed it into the empty net at the far post, only for an offside flag to hand Newcastle a reprieve.

The same assistant referee got the Magpies off the hook again six minutes later when Wright-Phillips fired home after Maniche's shot had come back off the post with Given beaten. And when the goal arrived, it did so at the other end, Amady Faye heading an Emre corner back across the area for Bramble to volley sweetly home.

Carr's 75th-minute dismissal for, in referee Mike Riley's opinion, a stamp on midfielder Lassana Diarra, provided a further twist, and as time ran down to an agonising conclusion, Tyneside collectively held its breath.

Pidgeley's injury-time save from Charles N'Zogbia denied the home side a more comfortable end to their season, but the final whistle brought rapturous celebrations and some tangible reward for the efforts of Roeder and his players.




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The Journalist

Writer:  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday May 8 2006

Time: 9:50PM

Your Comments

well dne ladz uv cme on millions throughout the season..start mext season the wat uv finished
swanz_gal_05
Well done on the win and what a finish to the season. Who'd have thought it at christmas?
FEn_100
So glad when you sacked Souness,he left Blackburn in the relegation zone to go to you, look at then now. He set you back two years.
sdandrk
 

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