NEWCASTLE UNITED 1
LEICESTER CITY 0
Monday, August 31, 2009
Craig Hope reports from St.James' Park ...
NEWCASTLE United climbed to the summit of the Championship table as Danny Guthrie fired the only goal during a well-fought encouter with Leicester City at St.James' Park.
Guthrie, collecting the ball from the outstanding teenage striker Nile Ranger, unleashed an unstoppable 20-yard drive into the roof of the net on 52 minutes for his second in as many matches.
But the Magpies had Steve Harper to thank for keeping the score goalless going into the second period after two terrific first-half saves from Steve Howard and Paul Gallagher.
United now head into the international break with a two-point lead at the top of the table with a trip to Cardiff City next up on September 13.
SECOND-HALF UPDATES (click refresh for latest)
The answer is yes, 1-0!
90+3min - United are camped in their own half, can they hold on?
There will be a hefty four minutes added time - not sure where they got that from ...
90min - Dany N'Guessan makes way with midfielder Nicky Adams his replacement.
89min - Another change for United sees Tamas Kadar swap places with the industrious Joey Barton.
85min - United make a double change with Nile Ranger getting a standing ovation before being replaced by Haris Vuckic, and Geordie lad Ryan Donaldson coming on for his debut with Danny Guthrie making way.
78min - Bruno Berner sees yellow for a bodycheck on Ryan Taylor on the right flank. Taylor drops the resulting free-kick onto the boot of namesake Steven who, ghosting in at the back post, stabs into the side-netting - that was a real chance and the Geordie defender knows it.
74min - It's Ranger again who this time works an opening for Barton, the midfielder arrowing a 25-yard drive a yard above The Foxes frame.
73min - Scorer Danny Guthrie is the first man in the book for a blatant trip on Oakley.
71min - Ranger again demonstrates great power and awareness in holding off Brown before laying a pass to Nolan, in space on the edge of the area. He controls before releasing a low snap shot which fails to beat Weale in the middle of his goal.
70min - Martyn Waghorn, the teenage striker on loan from Sunderland, replaces Matt Fryatt.
68min - Terrific hold-up play from Nile Ranger presents the supporting Alan Smith with a shooting chance on the edge of the area. The skipper works the ball onto his left peg before directing a low strike towards Weale's bottom corner, the Foxes keeper flops to his left and does well to save.
61min - Lloyd Dyer replaces Paul Gallagher.
59min - United look like a different side after the break and Guthrie, Barton and Smith all crunch into stiff 50-50 challenges in quick succession - the Toon Army are on their feet in applause of their committment.
55min - Geremi comes within inches of extending the advantage as his low, 25-yard strike zips the wrong side of Weale's upright with the stopper again beaten.
52min - NEWCASTLE GOAL (1-0): Kevin Nolan cushions a long punt downfield into the feet of Nile Ranger who in turn rolls a short pass to DANNY GUTHIRE, the midfielder takes the ball on before unleasing an unstoppable 20-yard drive high into the roof of the net past a helpless Chris Weale - two in two for Guthrie.
52min - Barton surges forward and tries to thread the front-running Nolan in on goal, the pass skids up off the sodden surface but is intercepted by Hobbs who reads the Liverpudlian's intentions.
48min - Steve Howard tests Steve Harper from range but the Toon stopper is equal to it.
No changes during the interval as The Foxes get play started for the second period.
45+1min - Joey Barton squanders possession midway inside United's half and Matt Fryatt looks to take advantage. The striker gallops towards the penalty area but, after cutting inside Steven Taylor, he slices high and wide of Harper's target when really he should've tested the Magpie keeper.
There will be two minutes added time.
43min - An offside flag denies Danny Guthrie a one-on-one with Chris Weale - that was tight.
37min - The visitors are bizarrely awarded a free-kick 20 yards from goal as Steve Howard climbs on the back of Alan Smith before crashing to the turf. Paul Gallagher bends right-footed around the wall but he is denied a first goal for the Foxes as Steve Harper springs to fist clear - another fantastic save!
34min - This is all City at the moment and Matt Oakley angles a levered cross agonisingly across the face of goal from the right - boss Nigel Pearson shows his frustration that there were no takers as he bounces in despair on the touchline.
32min - United are on the back foot here and Steve Howard takes a chance from 20 yards, but the effort is speculative at best and ends up nestled in the front row of the Leazes End.
28min - Howard's aerial prowess is proving troublesome for the Magpies and the Durham-born striker again climbs to help on Berner's long pump downfield, the ball loops into the danger zone but Steve Harper comes to fist clear of the penalty box with Fryatt looking to head on goal.
26min - N'Guessan skies high into the Leazes End from 20 yards - poor effort.
21min - What a save! Wellens' out-swinging corner is flashed on goal by the head of Steve Howard only for Steve Harper to leap and repel the goal-bound effort - fantastic reactions from the Toon keeper.
20min - Ranger's gravity-defying leap and headed flick sees Kevin Nolan presented with a one-on-one with defender Brown, the midfielder cuts the ball inside his opponent and, just when it looks as though he's going to release a shot on goal from 12 yards, Foxes stopper Hobbs get back to steal at the crucial moment.
14min - Home appeals for a penalty go up as first, from Ryan Taylor's cross, the ball appears to catch the arm of Paul Gallagher before defender Jack Hobbs makes a mess of his attempted clearance with the ball again appearing to strike his hand - replays show the Magpies had a case!
11min - The move of the match so far sees Geremi feed Guthrie on the right flank, he steps inside Berner and rolls a sharp pass into the path of the fast-arriving Nolan, the midfielder opts for the first-time shot and is only denied a third goal in as many matches by keeper Chris Weale who gets down save with the ball headed for the bottom corner - good stop.
9min - Ranger forces the game's first corner as, racing after Nolan's throughball, he hurries Wayne Brown into a wild clearance which slices high into the Leazes End. Ryan Taylor picks out Ranger at the far post, he controls with his chest but is closed down before releasing a shot and The Foxes clear.
6min - N'Guessan could prove to be a bit of a handful tonight and the French wideman surges infield from the right only for his teasing low centre to be turned into the arms of keeper Steve Harper by the out-stretched boot of Steven Taylor - it looked for a split-second as if the Geordie defender was going to poke into his own goal.
2min - The rangey N'Guessan gets away down the right, he has Jose Enrique for company but manages to release a cross which crashes into Steve Harper's side-netting - the Toon stopper, to be fair, had it covered.
The rain has subsided as skipper Smith and Nolan get the game started attacking the Gallowgate End on what is sure to be a fast St.James' surface following an earlier downpour.
TEENAGE striker Nile Ranger keeps his place in attack with five-goal top goalscorer Shola Ameobi (foot) sidelined.
Jonas Gutierrez (groin) also misses out meaning Geremi, who scored in last week's 4-3 Carling Cup victory over Huddersfield Town, again starts in midfield.
Joey Barton returns to the side after a two-week foot layoff with Danny Guthrie, Kevin Nolan and skipper Alan Smith completing the engine-room line-up.
Ryan Taylor, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor and Jose Enrique make up the defence.
Fabricio Coloccini is unavailable having joined up with the Argentina national squad.
French forward Wesley Ngo Baheng is named among the substitutes for the first time.
NUFC: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Jose Enrique, Steven Taylor, Ryan Taylor, Joey Barton, Geremi, Alan Smith (c), Kevin Nolan, Danny Guthrie, Nile Ranger
Subs: Tim Krul, Tamas Kadar, Wesley Ngo Baheng, Kazenga LuaLua, Ben Tozer, Haris Vuckic, Ryan Donaldson
LCFC: Chris Weale, Robbie Neilson, Wayne Brown, Matt Oakley, Steve Howard, Matt Fryatt, Danny N'Guessan, Bruno Berner, Richie Wellens, Paul Gallacher, Jack Hobbs
Subs: Michael Morrison, Andy King, Lloyd Dyer, Conrad Logan, Nicky Adams, Martyn Waghorn, Ryan McGovern
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Attendance: 38, 813