Three Off As United Crash


Newcastle Utd 0: Taylor s/o 72'  Bowyer s/o 81'  Dyer s/o 81'

Aston Villa 3: Angel 4' Barry (pen) 72' (pen) 79'


United: Given, Carr, Boumsong, O'Brien (Taylor 52), Hughes, Jenas, Bowyer, Butt, Robert (Faye 84), Dyer, Shearer  Subs (not used): Harper, Milner

Villa: Sorensen, Delaney, Samuel, Mellberg (Ridgewell 46), Laursen, Barry, Hendrie (Solano 84) Davis, Hitzlsperger, Vassell, Angel (Cole 88)  Subs (not used): Postma, Berson

UNITED boss Graeme Souness kept faith with Kieron Dyer in attack after patrick Kluivert was ruled out of Saturday's home game with Aston Villa.

Dyer partnered Alan Shearer in attack just a day after the skipper penned a new deal to keep him at St. James' Park for another season.

Nicky Butt was recalled in midfield at the expense of Amdy Faye, while there was a place in the starting line up for Jermaine Jenas.

Aston Villa included former United favourite Nobby Solano on the bench, with the midfielder having retruend to the UK on Friday after being on international duty with Peru.   

Shearer was given a tremendous ovation as he and Dyer got the game underway with the hosts attacking the Leazes End.

Robert had the first shot of the game inside the first minute with a long range free kick that flew off target.

But it was Villa who took the lead with four minutes gone, with Angel blasting the ball home from 12 yards after United failed to deal with a cross from Davis from the right flank.

Shearer headed straight at Sorensen on seven minutes after a cross from Jenas, then the former Sunderland keeper blocked a shot from Bowyer and Mellberg cleared for a corner which was swept away by Laursen.

A foul on Dyer from mellberg gave Newcastle a free kick on the left on nine minutes, and when Robert clipped the ball into the mixer it fell nicely for Jenas but he couldn't keep his shot down and the opportunity to equalise went begging.

Dyer cut inside and fired at goal on 11 minutes but Soreneson got down to his right to smother the shot, then the midfielder teed up Jenas moments later but again the former Nottingham Forest star was off target.

Villa won a corner on the right when Hendrie's cross clipped off Hughes, and when Hitzlspergere swept the flag kick in Given had to stretch and palm the ball away for another corner on the opposite side.This time Boumsong cleared the danger.

Dyer saw an acrobatic volley from Carr's cross flash wide on 18 minutes, then at the other end Bowyer got in a good block to deny Hitzlsperger after Angel broke clear.

Butt drilled a low shot wide of Sorensen's right hand upright on 26 minutes after Robert squared a free kick into his path, then Hughes wasted the chance to either shoot or cross when Robert threaded a pass to him and the ball drifted out for a goal kick.

United were lucky not to go 2-0 down on 30 minutes when Barry's low effort from the edge of the box hit the inside of the bost and rolled to Hughes who cleared.

Hitzlsperger was booked on 31 minutes for a late lunge on Bowyer just outside the centre circle, then in Newcastle's next attack a half volley from Butt was well held by Sorensen.

Given needed treatment after being clattered by Angel as he tried to claim a high cross from the left, though he was able to play on after receiving attention.

Shearer saw a low free kick from 25 yards blocked by the wall, and when the loose ball rolled in to the box Jenas was pulled up for a foul.

Laursen's foul on the skipper gave United another free kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out on 39 minutes, and this time Robert's effort hit the wall and rolled through to Sorensen.

Villa were happy to stop every move with a foul, and referee Knight lost patience and booked Mellberg after yet another free kick was given away by the visitors.

Laursen hacked a Shearer cross away for a corner on the right on 42 minutes, but Robert's inswinger was easy for Sorensen who made the catch inside his six yard area.

Laursen then sliced a Butt pass for a corner on 43 minutes under pressure from Dyer, but again the corner came to nothing and a frustrating half was summed up in stoppage time when Jenas slicjed another shot wide after a Dyer pass.

Villa made a switch at the start of the second half, with Olof Mellberg being replaced by Liam Ridgewell. Gareth Barry took over the captain's armband in the Swede's absence.

Two minutes into the second half Robert's cross was met by Shearer at the back post, and there appeared to be a handball from Samuel before Sorensen made the save but the referee didn't see anything and allowed play to continue despite furious protests from the United players.

At the other end Given had to make a diving save to keep out a Davis drive on 48 minutes, then Angel somehow poked the ball wide after getting goal-side of Boumsong after O'Brien's misplaced pass.

Bowyer had a sweet strike from the edge of the box tipped over by Sorensen on 51 minutes, but Aston Villa cleared their lines from the corner.

The Magpies made a switch on 52 minutes, with O'Brien being replaced by Steven Taylor.

Villa won two corners in quick succession around the hour mark, but both came to nothing, then at the other end Dyer won a flag kick off Delaney. Before the kick was taken, Jenas was replaced by Shola Ameobi, and when the ball evertually came in Taylor appeared to be shoved at the back post but again nothing was given.

United had looked shaky at the back all afternoon, and when Given came out of his box to clear a long ball he clashed with team-mate Boumsong and the defender and he needed lengthy treatment before returning to the action.

Ridgewell's foul on Ameobi gave Newcastle a 67th minute free kick 25 yards out to the right of centre, and Robert's curling effort had to be carefully watched by Sorensen as it flashed narrowly wide.

On 71 minutes things got worse for Newcastle when Butt's erro let in Vassell. He skipped around Given and Taylor handballed on the line so was immediately red carded. From the penalty that followed, Barry fired straight down the middle to make it 2-0.

A foul on Ameobi by Delaney gave The Magpies a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area, but Shearer's strike hit the wall and as Robert tried to get the rebound he was fouled to give the home side another free kick in a similar position. Once again the wall did it's job as the ball diverted away for a corner.

On 78 minutes Villa were awarded a second penalty when Carr's barge on Vassell was deemed to be a foul. Barry again stepped up to take the kick after Carr was booked, and he put the ball straight down the middle again to make it 3-0.

Just when United thought it couldn't get any worse, Dyer and Bowyer became involved a clash after arguing with each other, and with both players throwing punches before being separated by players from both teams, they were both were red carded to leave The Magpies with eight men. 

The game was now a farce, though Nobby Solano's introduction gave the home fans something to cheer when he replaced Hendrie. At the same time Laurent Robert was replaced by Amdy Faye.

There were loud boos at the end as the good run of results came to an end in spectacular fashion.


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