Date: 11th August 2006 at 1:33pm
Written by:

FK VENTSPILS 0 NEWCASTLE UTD 1

FK VENTSPILS: Vanins, Ndjoumek-Ndeki, Kaspars Gorkss, Kacanovs, Bicka, Zangareeb, Dubensky (Kosmacovs 90), Vukovic, Kolefnicenko (Pokarynin 84), Butriks, Slesarchuk (Zizilevs 16).
Subs Not Used: Davidovs, Sokolskis, Soleicuks, Stukalinas.

NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Carr, Moore, Bramble, Babayaro (Ramage 87), Solano (Milner 84), Emre (N’Zogbia 80), Duff, Parker, Butt, Ameobi.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Luque, Taylor, O’Brien.

Titus Bramble scored the goal of his life to nick the tie, but the defender went through another rollercoaster ride before he hit the back of the net.

Bramble recovered from a poor start when he could have cost Roeder an embarrassment by gifting two goals, but he hit the crucial winner against Chelsea on the final day of last season which squeezed Newcastle into a vital Intertoto Cup berth … and he did the same in Latvia.

Roeder: ‘Titus has chipped in with a few goals over the last half dozen games and none more important than the one against Chelsea that got us into the competition.

‘He has now scored another vital goal that without doubt gives us a big advantage in the return leg but we must make sure we are just as motivated for that game as we were tonight.

‘It goes without saying we are pleased to come to Riga to win and we prepared as if we were playing Manchester United or Chelsea. We gave Ventspils that much respect which they deserve.

‘We are pleased to have scored and taken the lead away from home. We changed our system and put two wide players on the pitch and managed to cause Ventspils a few problems.’


New signing Damien Duff toiled down the left and was probably as good as anyone on the field. And Nicky Butt was solid, if not spectacular, as he dug in behind the Newcastle midfield and stemmed the Latvian tide.

But all the talk was of Bramble, who stood and watched Igors Slesarcuks fly past him with just five minutes on the clock and Shay Given came to his rescue. He was again counting daisies as Vladimirs Kolesnicenko rose between him and team-mate Celestine Babayaro to fire a 17th-minute header inches wide of Given’s goal.

But he put it all behind him when he charged in to score a fabulous goal in the 70th minute.