MATCH REPORTS

United Take A Point

Bramble goal Chelsea

 

Newcastle Utd 1: Geremi og 33
Chelsea 1: Lampard (pen) 34

United: Given, Carr (Taylor 46), Boumsong, Bramble, Babayaro, N'Zogbia, Jenas, Ambrose, Milner, Kluivert (Chopra 75), Shearer  Subs (not used): Harper, O'Brien, Robert

Chelsea: Cudicini, Johnson, Huth, Carvalho, Tiago, Cole (Morais 89), Geremi, Makelele, Lampard, Jarosik (Watt 90), Gudjohnsen (Oliveira 84)  Subs (not used): Cech, Grant

UNITED welcomed Premiership champions Chelsea to St. James' Park for the final game of the season and Alan Shearer was back in the starting line-up after missing the game at Fulham then being on the bench for Everton, with Shola Ameobi banned for his red card at Goodison Park.

Michael Chopra was on the bench after returning from his season-long loan spell at Barnsley.

Chelsea rang the changes, with John Terry missing through injury and Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman also missing, though Jose Mourinho was still able to call upon plenty of talent from his squad.

United formed a guard of honour as Chelsea emerged from the tunnel, with Celestine Babayaro joining his former team-mates as they trooped out having started the season with the Stamford Bridge outfit.

The Magpies, wearing their new home strip, kicked off attacking the Leazes End.

Babayaro picked out Shearer with a good ball down the left on three minutes, but when he crossed to Kluivert the Dutchman laid the ball off to milner but his first touch was too hard and Chelsea won a goal kick.

Carr fired well wide from distance on 10 minutes after running unchallenged down the inside right flank, then Milner had a cross swept away by Carvalho moments later.

Geremi did well to get a foot around Shearer to hook the ball away on 17 minutes when Milner crossed from the right, then in the next attack Carvalho headed away another Milner centre with N'Zogbia free inside the box.

Boumsong got in a good block to deny Gudjohnsen on 20 minutes when the striker turned and shot 12 yards out, then at the other end N'Zogbia won warm applause for a good solo run and cross but Cudicini gathered the ball above Shearer.

Makelele caught Shearer on the shoulder with a high challenge on 28 minutes, though referee Howard Webb didn't even give the Chelsea midfielder a ticking off to the disgust of the skipper and his irate manager who had words with the fourth official.

Cole fired over the bar from an angle after getting goal side of Bramble, and as the clock ticked past the half hour mark neither goalkeeper had been forced to make a save.

Jarosik saw a low drive easily gathered by Given on 31 minutes, then N'Zogbia won a corner off Huth on 32 minutes and when Milner curled the ball in, Cudicini had to twist in the air to turnt he ball over the bar for an second flag kick. N'Zogbia swung the ball in again, and when Shearer flicked it on, Geremi poked the ball over the line under pressure from Bramble. 

But within seconds Chelsea had the chance to level when Babayaro hauled back Gudjohnsen inside the box. Webb booked the United full back after pointing to the penalty spot, then Lampard stepped up to beat Given from the spot.

N'Zogbia was then booked for a foul on Lampard, but on 41 minutes Cole was cautioned for kicking the ball away after a free kick was given against him.

N'Zogbia had a shot deflected off Geremi for a corner on 43 minutes, and when the ball went deep across the box Bramble was fouled to give Newcastle a free kick wide on the right, which Lampard headed to safety.

Given claimed a Lampard free kick in the closing stages of the first period, then in stoppage time a free kick for The Magpies 30 yards out was hit by Shearer but saved by Cudicini as the half ended all square at 1-1.

United made a change at the start of the second half, with Steven Taylor replacing Carr at right back after the Irishman complained of a tight thigh during the break.

Lampard's shot on 47 minutes was easy for Given who got down low to save, then at the other end Jenas just failed to get on the end of a cross from Ambrose when the former Ipswich star laid the ball across the face of goal a minute later.

Kluivert won a corner on 51 minutes after some neat footwork on the byline, but Cheslea cleared their lines. On 54 minutes Kluivert appeared to be shoved in the box as he tried to get on the end of a Milner cross, but the referee gave the free kick to Chelsea and booked the striker for contesting the decision.

Shearer was then adjudged to have fouled Huth despite looking as though he had fairly dispossessed the centre back on the edge of the box, then Tiago and Carvalho were booked within seconds of each other, the first for a foul on Taylor then the second for running away with the ball.

Mr Webb had his notebook out again to take the name of Jenas on the hour when he tugged back Cole, then Tiago had to hack the ball away when a cross from Milner caused confusion in the visiting defence.

Babayaro flashed a volley wide from the left corner of the box on 64 minutes, then Kluivert had a header pushed around the post by the diving Cudicini after a patient build up from the home side. Milner took the flag kick, and Taylor flashed a header wide after rising in a crowded six yard area.

On 75 minutes United made another change, with Chopra replacing Kluivert in attack.

A United corner on 83 minutes almost resulted in a goal when Tiago's sliced clearance looped goalwards, but Chelsea hacked the ball to safety. The Blues won a corner at the other end and Jarosik looked a certain scorer until Given pulled off a superb one-handed save.

Two minutes of time were added on at the end, but there was no further scoring as the game ended with the teams taking a share of the spoils.

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