MATCH REPORTS

Magpies Beat The Saints

Newcastle v Southampton

Newcastle Utd 2: Shearer (pen) 8, Bramble 38
Southampton 1: Crouch 42

Final Update: 90mins (3pm kick-off)

United: Given, Taylor, Bramble, Boumsong, Babayaro (Hughes 85), Dyer, Jenas, Bowyer, Bellamy (Milner 75), Shearer (Kluivert 62), Ameobi  Subs (not used): Harper, Robert  

Southampton: Niemi (Smith 8), Lundekvam, Higginbotham, Davenport, Telfer, Delap, Prutton, Redknapp, McCann (A Svensson 66), Phillips (Ormerod 87), Crouch  Subs (not used): Oakley, Nilsson

Referee: Uriah Rennie

ALAN Shearer was back in the side after a 12-match absence as United played host to Southampton at St. James' Park.

Shearer went up front alongside Shola Ameobi, with Craig Bellamy dropping back to midfield at the expense of Laurent Robert.

Kieron Dyer was also back after missing the FA Cup win at Yeading, replacing Charles N'Zogbia, while Jean Alain Boumsong and Celestine Babayaro both made their home debuts.

United got the game underway attacking the Gallowgate End, but it was Southampton who broke fiurst and they won a corner inside the the first minute but Prutton's cross was easily gathered by Given.

On four minutes Bramble's long ball was picked up by Ameobi, and when he was fouled by Davenport the referee pointed to the spot. Niemi was treated for a knock picked up in the incident and when it was clear he couldn't continue he was replaced by Paul Smith.

Shearer eventually stepped up after a four minute delay, and made no mistake from the spot to clock up his 400th career goal with his first touch of the game - his 249th in thye Premiership.

Ameobi then won a corner off Davenport on 10 minutes, but Bramble's header bounced wide of the replacement goalkeeper's right hand upright.

Davenport got a good block in to deny Ameobi on 18 minutes after a good ball from Bellamy who had turned Delap on the halfway line, then a foul by Redknapp on Bowyer gave United a free kick 30 yards out on the inside left. Jenas' floating cross was headed away and when the ball fell to the edge of the box Bowyer fired over from Taylor's lay off.

Crouch then had a header saved by Given after mcCann crossed from the left, then bellamy cut inside and saw Smith save with his legs on 21 minutes.

It was all Newcastle in the opening excahnges and Ameobi saw a tame shot saved by Smith after Taylor bombed forward to set him up, then a piledriver from Dyer was tipped away for a corner by Smith but Bowyer's delivery was cleared.

Ameobi tumbled under a challenge from Davenport and had strong claims for another penalty on 27 minutes, but referee Uriah Rennie waved the appeals away.

Ameobi then had a header smothered by Smith before Dyer jinked his way to the edge of the box and sidefooted an effort just wide of the post as The Magpies pressed for a second goal.

Taylor and then Jenas both had shots blocked after a corner on 34 minutes, then Croch was booked foe a foul on Taylor on the Milburn stand tyouchline when Southampton broke down their left wing.

He was quickly joined in the book by Telfer a minute later when he scythed down bellamy as the Welshman tried to skip past him on the opposite flank, and when Babayaro swung the ball across the face of goal Bramble glanched the ball home for his first Premiership goal for The Magpies.

Ameobi won a corner on the right on 40 minutes, but this time Southampton cleared their lines after a short routine between Bowyer and Bellamy failed to come off.

Two minutes later though Southampton won a corner, and when Crouch swept the ball home after Phillips hit the bar to give Harry Redknapp's side a lifeline before the half time break.

Ameobi almost took advantage of a slip at the back by Telfer but Southampton cleared, then Bellamy saw a shot tipped away in stoppage time.

Jenas needed treatment inside the opening seconds of the second period after being caught by former Nottingham Forest team-mate Prutton right on the halfway line, though he was able to play on after receiving attention.

Crouch saw a half volley fly well wide on 49 minutes, then at the other end Jenas curled a shot into the arms of Smith when United next mounted an attack.

Davenport just got ahead on Bellamy on 53 minutes as he tried to get on the end of Shearer's flick on, then Ameo0bi did well to win a corner after some fancy footwork on the Newcastle left.

Bellamy flashed a volley wide after Boumsong sent Bowyer free to cross from the left on 55 minutes, then Bowyer and McCann had to be pulled apart after a tussle in midfield but the referee took no action against either player and the game resumed with a United free kick.

Bowyer was inches away from getting on the end of a curling pass from Bellamy on 59 minutes, then United won another corner when Taylor and Shearer exchanged passes, and when the flag kick was taken another cormer followed and this time Bowyer saw a shot deflected for another corner on the opposite wing which was cleared.

On 62 minutes Shearer was replaced by Kluivert, and left the field to a standing ovation. Southampton made a change on 66 minutes, with Anders Svensson coming on in place of McCann.

Taylor headed a Redknapp cross away for a corner on 70 minutes, but when the kick came in Bramble cleared the danger.

Ameobi had a long range shot diverted away for a corner off Davenport on 73 minutes, but Smith rose well to collect Bowyer's inswinger.

On 75 minutes Graeme Souness made another switch, with James Milner coming off the bench to replace Bellamy.

Ameobi shot goalwards on 76 minutes and the bounce almost caught out Smith, who had to stick out a hand to divert the ball for a corner. The ball was onbly half cleared and when Milner took a shot Smith got down well to keep the ball out.

Svensson saw a looping header drift over Given's crossbar on 79 minutes, then Bramble calmly headed back to Given after Crouch won a high ball into the box.

On 83 minutes Newcastle won another corner, and when Taylor headed goalwards Smith had to snatch the ball off the head of Jenas as he tried to nip in from close range.

Five minutes from time Aaron Hughes came off the bench in place of Babayaro at left back.

Telfer headed Ameobi's cross away for a corner on 87 minutes but again the flag kick was hacked away. Just before the kick was taken, Phillips hobbled off to be replaced by Ormerod and the former Sunderland striker was given predictable treatment as he trooped off the pitch.

Three minutes of time were added on at the end, and Given had to get down low to smother a long range effort from Telfer then Taylor threw himself of a Prutton shot to give a corner away as United held on.   

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