Date: 20th March 2006 at 12:02pm
Written by:

Sunday March 19th 2006
NEWCASTLE UTD 1 LIVERPOOL 3

NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Ramage, Boumsong, Elliott, Babayaro, Solano, Parker, Emre (Clark 90), N’Zogbia (Bowyer 28), Shearer,Ameobi (Dyer 62).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Moore.

LIVERPOOL: Reina, Agger, Hyypia (Fowler 90), Carragher,Warnock, Kromkamp, Hamann, Gerrard (Alonso 74), Kewell, Cisse,Crouch (Luis Garcia 63).
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Traore.

Three games in ten days against the top three sides in the Premiership, and it’s two humiliations … and perhaps another to come!

For the second match running Newcastle were put to sword and saved from humiliation by good luck and Shay Given.

But it was the way they hardly put up a fight … for the second game running … that has many Toon fans fearing the worst on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.

We don’t have the quality of Man Utd or Liverpool, despite Souness breaking the bank to bring in the likes of Albert Luque and Jean-Alain Boumsong. But at least get in there, and rattle a cage or two. And that hasn’t happened in the last two games.

Trailing 2-0 long before half-time after Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard had struck, the Magpies fought back to go into the interval just one behind at the break courtesy of Shola Ameobi’s header.

But their hopes of a comeback were ripped apart within seven minutes of the second half when Jean-Alain Boumsong was dismissed for a foul on Crouch inside the box and Djibril Cisse converted the penalty to increase the pain.

Referee Mike Riley left the north-east to a chorus of boos from the bulk of the 52,302 crowd, which included England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson, but in truth, Newcastle had been well beaten by a side who saw Roeder’s boys as a soft touch. And how right they were.

The game was only 10 minutes old when Newcastle were hit by a sucker punch when 6ft 7in Crouch was allowed to get between Boumsong and Peter Ramage to head Jan Kromkamp’s deep cross past the helpless Shay Given. It was not so much the fact that the visitors deserved to be in front after a lively start which will have annoyed Roeder, but more that they went behind to the most obvious of ploys.

Liverpool played with Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia and Daniel Agger in a back three with Kromkamp and Stephen Warnock operating as wing-backs, and they dominated from the kick-off.

Shearer appeared to have been fouled as the Magpies attacked the Liverpool penalty area, but Riley, who had previously blown repeatedly for niggling incidents, allowed play to continue, and the home side were punished with devastating effect. Cisse’s cross was chested down to Crouch by Gerrard, and the striker laid the ball off first time for his England team-mate to fire it unerringly past Given.

It looked, just as it had at Old Trafford last week, like game over, but with four minutes of the half remaining, Ameobi turned the tide … for a brief spell at least. Having found himself on the wrong end of a series of offside decisions, he timed his run to perfection to meet Scott Parker’s cross unopposed and head firmly past Reina.

Newcastle emerged for the second half and it was all over when Boumsong missed his kick when trying to clear ahead of Crouch and compounded the error by bundling the striker to the ground inside the box. Referee Riley pointed immediately to the spot and to rub salt into the wound produced a red card.

Cisse stroked the penalty home to make it 3-1 and was promptly booked for over-celebrating, and he was spoken to once again within minutes for appearing to gesture towards a section of the home fans.