NEWCASTLE UNITED 3
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Craig Hope reports from St.James' Park ...
SHOLA Ameobi netted a match-winning treble with his first-ever hat-trick as Newcastle United climbed to third in the table following a 3-0 victory over Reading.
The first, on 37 minutes, arrived courtesy of Jose Enrique's whipped centre with the Geordie striker heading beyond the despairing arms of Adam Federici from close range.
The 27-year-old had to wait until just after the hour mark for his second and it again it came via his head, this time converting from Ryan Taylor's inviting delivery.
And the matchball was his on 75 minutes, the Nigerian-born ace confidently stepping up to slot home from the penalty spot after Shane Long had handled inside the area.
SECOND-HALF UPDATES (click refresh for latest)
And the whistle sounds for full-time with the Toon Army sure to go home happy after Shola's match-winning treble - United up to third in the Championship!
There will be four minutes added time.
88min - Kevin Nolan takes no chances and happily concedes a corner after LuaLua had lost possession inside United's own area. The hosts only half clear from the flag-kick and Robson-Kanu, gathering the loose ball 20 yards, dispatches a dipping half-volley which ends up on the roof of Steve Harper's goal.
86min - Xisco nutmegs Pearce 25 yards out but can't find the same level of skill to get by the second obstacle in the form of Cisse and the Reading defender steals before clearing.
82min - Joey Barton limps from the action and is replaced by Kazenga LuaLua - hard to tell what the problem is with the United midfielder.
80min - Noel Hunt brushes Steve Harper's upright from a narrow angle having raced onto Davies' throughball.
78min - Alan Smith makes way with Geremi his replacement - Kevin Nolan takes the armband.
78min - And Shola receives a deserved standing ovation as he leaves the field to be replaced by Xisco.
75min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (3-0): SHOLA AMEOBI has his hat-trick - his first-ever for the Magpies! The Geordie striker makes sure the matchball will be going home in his possession as he confidently steps up to slot home from the spot after Shane Long had handled from Joey Barton's deep flag-kick.
73min - United are camped in Reading's half here and surely it's only a matter of time before they get a third. And both Nolan and Carroll come within a whisker of grabbing that goal with the pair inches away from connecting with Barton's low delivery through the six-yard area.
71min - Nolan is robbed by Harper midway inside United's half but the hosts go unpunished as Robson-Kanu, having darted by Steven Taylor 20 yards out, slices his shot high into the Leazes End with just Harper to beat.
69min - That should have been Ameobi's hat-trick! Barton's deep corner is turned on target by the head of the Geordie frontman and only an acrobatic dive and fingertip save from Ferderici denies the striker the matchball!
68min - The resulting free-kick is worked short before Harper zips a low ball into the box, luckily for United Andy Carroll is back helping out and hacks to safety.
67min - Joey Barton enters the book for a tug on the shirt of Bertrand who had beaten the United midfielder on the Milburn Stand touchline.
66min - Double change for Reading; James Harper and Noel Hunt replacing Jay Tabb and Jimmy Kebe.
61min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (2-0): Kevin Nolan refuses to allow a loose ball to run away for a throw-in high on the right flank and chases to retrieve before slipping a pass back to Ryan Taylor, his felow Scouser serves up an inviting cross to the far post and it's that man SHOLA AMEOBI who heads home to double United's advantage!
60min - Enrique checks inside Bertrand and delivers a high ball to the far post, Carroll towers to knock back into the path of the fast-arriving Joey Barton but his first-time strike is blocked by the brave Alex Pearce on the penalty spot.
54min - Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Welsh forward Simon Church who has had a largely ineffective afternoon.
53min - Barton lifts a left-wing flag-kick into the danger zone, Carroll rises to meet but fails to get enough purchase on his header and Reading scramble clear when the ball drops inside the six-yard area.
50min - Ameobi and Carroll swap passes with the former sent clear in-behind the Royals backline, Pearce is scampering back to block the striker's path to goal but Ameobi checks inside the skipper before seeing a dipping, right-footed effort shave Ferderici's post - that was close.
48min - The visitors win a corner but a decent delivery by Tabb goes without any Reading takers and is cleared by Steven Taylor on the edge of the six-yard area.
46min - Andy Carroll folllows skipper Smith into the book within 30 seconds of the restart as, attempting to win the ball from Rosenior, he upends the full-back who had managed to release his clearance a split-second earlier.
No changes at the break as play restarts with United attacking the Gallowgate End.
That's the last action of the half with United leading 1-0 going into the break thanks to Shola Ameobi's 38th-minute header.
45+1min - Andy Carroll is bundled over by Rosenior inside the area but referee Taylor is having none of it and waves away the striker's appeals for a penalty - it would've been a harsh one.
There will be two minutes added time.
41min - Ameobi, teed up by Barton on the edge of the area, is denied a second when his measured, low side-footer is saved by a well-positioned Federici.
38min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): From the resulting corner the ball finds its way to the feet of Jose Enrique on the left, his whipped centre is met by SHOLA AMEOBI who heads into the ground from six yards out with the ball bouncing up and over the out-stretched arm of Federici and into the far corner.
37min - Enrique's perfectly-weighted throughball finds Gutierrez making strides into the area, the winger disguises the shot and hooks the ball back onto his right foot with Rosenior now grounded and beaten, he releases a right-footed strike from the angle of the six-yard area and is only denied a first United goal by the reflexes of Feredrici who dives to palm over the crossbar - great save.
31min - Ryan Taylor delivers United's first telling cross of the game but it is the head of Pearce which connects to nod away for a corner - the Royals skipper taking no chances there with Carroll and Ameobi lurking. Barton's cross is poor and Tabb is able to hack well past halfway.
28min - Still United try in vain to penetrate the Royals rearguard.
26min - Steven Taylor comes to United's rescue as he arrives to swipe Long's teasing low centre to safety with orange shirts steaming into the area.
22min - Alan Smith is lucky to escape a second yellow just moments later as his late challenge on Tabb is dealt with in the form of a stern word from referee Anthony Taylor.
19min - The Magpies are struggling to break The Royals down and frustration kicks in for Alan Smith as his reckless challenge on Simon Chruch earns the United skipper a booking.
13min - Jonas Gutierrez is sent clean through on goal by Kevin Nolan's threaded pass from halfway, the Toon Army are on their feet but soon sink back into their seats as the Argentine gets the ball caught under his feet and his chance is gone. Reading fail to clear, though, and Andy Carroll, feeding on the scraps, manages to get away a 12-yard shot but his effort screws well wide.
10min - United win their first corner at the other end, Andy Carroll jinking one way and then the other before seeing a left-footed strike from 20 yards deflect behind off Cisse. Ryan Taylor draws a low ball back for Joey Barton in what is obviously a training ground routine, but the United midfielder must have enjoyed more success on the practice pitch as he kicks fresh air enabling Reading to clear.
8min - Scott Davies delivers the game's first corner, skipper Alex Pearce is in acres of space unmarked 12 yards out but his header lacks venom and Steve Harper is able to save with ease in the middle of his goal.
6min - The Toon Army are generating a fair amount of noise and must be encouraged by United's purposeful start.
4min - Ryan Taylor gets a view of goal from 25 yards and, with the crowd willing him to shoot, the Liverpudlian sees a powerful drive skid wide of Federici's goal - a range-finder perhaps?
3min - Steve Harper's first call of duty is to boot a Steven Taylor backpass to safety with the rangey Church closing in.
The Magpies get us started attacking the Leazes End.
United's players are arm-in-arm as St.James' Park observes a minute's applause in memory of former manager Sir Bobby Robson.
NEWCASTLE United make just one change from the side which drew at West Brom seven days ago with Joey Barton replacing Damien Duff.
That means the Magpies are again likely to go with a 4-4-2 system spearheaded by a front pairing of Andy Carroll and Shola Ameobi.
Steve Harper, who was forced off at half-time at The Hawthorns because of a head injury, is fit to take his place inbetween the posts.
Alan Smith skippers the side in the absence of Nicky Butt (hand).
NUFC: Steve Harper, Ryan Taylor, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Alan Smith (c), Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton, Jonas Gutierrez, Andy Carroll, Shola Ameobi
Subs: Tim Krul, Geremi, Xisco, Nile Ranger, Kazenga LuaLua, Ryan Donaldson, Tamas Kadar
RFC: Adam Federici, Liam Rosenior, Ryan Bertrand, Kalifa Cisse, Alex Pearce (c), Jay Tabb, Jimmy Kebe, Scott Davies, Simon Church, Shane Long, Jem Karacan
Subs: Matthew Mills, Brynjar Gunnarsson, Noel Hunt, James Harper, Hal Robson-Kanu, Ben Hamer, Gylfi Sigurdsson
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: 36, 944
nufcTV will have full match commentary from the Reading game as well as post-game reaction and video highlights ... Click below to sign up today for as little as £1.50 each month ...