0 users online

Match Report - Newcastle 1 Fulham 1

last updated Saturday 10th September 2005, 10:47 PM

Ten-man Newcastle needed the brilliance of teenage substitute Charles N'Zogbia to prevent record signing Michael Owen's welcome party turning into a wake.

Brian McBride poops on the Owen welcome party
Brian McBride poops on the
Michael Owen welcome party

Owen's debut was heading for defeat when the French youngster curled home their first Barclays Premiership goal of the season with a superb free-kick 12 minutes from time to clinch just their second point.

The £17million man struggled to make the impact for which his new club broke the bank as a lack of creativity and shambolic defending behind him left he and captain Alan Shearer feeding off scraps.

Fulham were comfortably the better side and will know that, had they taken their chances, N'Zogbia's strike would have been irrelevant on an afternoon when under-pressure Magpies' manager Graeme Souness was able to field £33million worth of summer signings.

One of them, Scott Parker, was sent off seven minutes from time for a second yellow card.

Souness took something of a gamble when he moved in-form central defender Steven Taylor to right-back to release Stephen Carr for a midfield role with Nolberto Solano suspended, Kieron Dyer and Emre injured and Jermaine Jenas and James Milner having left the club.

Just where he expected the creativity to come from with the defensively-minded Carr, Parker and Amdy Faye, who has rarely looked like a Premiership player during his time at Newcastle, is debatable.

When £9.5million signing Albert Luque, a striker playing as a left winger, was carried off with a hamstring injury before the break Newcastle's woes deepened.

The home side were able to create little or nothing apart from a fourth-minute Shearer effort which was tipped away by keeper Tony Warner and two half-chances for Owen which went begging.

More worryingly, they were unable to contain a Fulham midfield in which Steed Malbranque and Claus Jensen toyed with their opponents with Tomasz Radzinski and Brian McBride taking advantage of some shambolic defending.

It was Taylor's dreadful 13th-minute back-pass which allowed Radzinski and former Newcastle target Luis Boa Morte to set up McBride for the opening goal, although Jean-Alain Boumsong's slip made the American's task all the easier.

Shay Given had to react smartly after being wrong-footed by a viciously-swerving Papa Bouba Diop drive 10 minutes before the break and the home side left the pitch at half-time to a bemused silence.

Taylor, who had collided with a post before the break, was replaced by Lee Bowyer, who had passed a late fitness test on a groin injury, with Carr resuming at right-back.

The former Tottenham man floated an early free-kick into keeper Tony Warner's hands and Shearer headed wide from a Celestine Babayaro cross, although he fouled Carlos Bocanegra in the process.

However, Fulham might have been out of sight by then as the Magpies repeatedly crumbled at the back.

Given got Titus Bramble, returning after a fractured elbow, off the hook, after 47 minutes with an excellent block from Radzinski and N'Zogbia cleared Diop's header off the line before McBride headed straight at Given after profiting from another slip by the hapless Boumsong.

Match Stats Newcastle Fulham
Goals 1 1
Possession 48% 52%
Goal attempts 12 10
On Target 7 5
Corners 10 8
Off-sides 5 5
Penalty 0 0
Fouls 20 18
Yellows 3 1
Reds 1 0
source: skysport/Opta sports data

Newcastle rallied with Faye testing Warner, although not to any great extent, from 25 yards and N'Zogbia seeing a driven cross deflected away from Shearer.

But the harder Owen tried, the less effective he became and with the visitors twice going close on the counter-attack through Boa Morte and McBride, they continued to look the more likely scorers.

Indeed, substitute Collins John could have wrapped up the points with his first touch when he got behind Bramble but fired wide after 71 minutes.

Carr went desperately close to an equaliser after 75 minutes when his piledriver came down off the crossbar but salvation arrived in the shape of N'Zogbia with 12 minutes remaining after Owen had been felled by former Magpies' target Boa Morte on the edge of the box.

The French teenager curled an unstoppable free-kick past Warner to level and set up a tense finish.

Newcastle's chances of victory were dealt a hammer blow within five minutes when Parker was booked for the second time for a tug on Claus Jensen's shirt, and the Dane crashed the resulting free-kick against Given's crossbar.

Newcastle Given, Taylor (Bowyer 45), Boumsong, Bramble, Babayaro, Carr, Faye (Clark 72), Parker, Luque (N'Zogbia 35), Shearer, Owen.
Subs Not Used: Elliott, Harper.

Sent Off: Parker (83).

Booked: Parker, Faye, Bowyer, Clark.

Goals: N'Zogbia 78.

Fulham Warner, Volz, Knight, Bocanegra, Niclas Jensen, Radzinski (John 70), Claus Jensen, Diop, Malbranque, Boa Morte, McBride (Helguson 81).
Subs Not Used: Batista, Elrich, Christanval.

Booked: Bocanegra (f,19).

Goals: McBride 13 (Right-footed, low centre of goal, from right side of penalty area)

Att: 52,208

Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

Source SportingLife
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"