MATCH REPORTS

Owen Wins It For United

Michael Owen

Newcastle Utd 1: Owen 18
Manchester City 0:

Final Update: 90mins (3pm kick off)

Ian Willis reports from St. James' Park

MICHAEL Owen's second goal in three games was enough to give Newcastle the three points in Saturday's home game with Manchester City.

Owen picked up a pass from Lee Bowyer to slide the ball past David James on 18 minutes after a bright start from the home side.

And Owen could have made it 2-0 in the closing stages of the half, but despite finidng himself one on one with James, his England team-mate made the save.

Antoine Sibierski could have given the visitors an early lead when he had time and space to get a free header from Joey Barton's free kick, but Shay Given stuck out a leg to make the save.

After the break both sides were restricted to half chances, with Owen's strike ultimately enough to give The Magpies their first home win of the season.

GRAEME Souness made two changes to the side that beat Blackburn last week for Saturday's visit of Manchester City.

Steven Taylor's red card saw him picking up a one game ban, so Titus Bramble slotted in to the heart of defence alongside Jean Alain Boumsong.

Scott Parker was free to play after completing his one game ban after his red card against Fulham, so he returned at the expense of Amady Faye, who dropped to the bench.

Lee Clark started his 200th game for The Magpies, by coincidence his 500th career appearance.

City had to reckon without Andy Cole, who didn't travel through injury, so Darius Vassell was the only recognised striker in their line-up.

Sylvain Distin skippered the visiting side, while another United link came in the shape of manager Stuart Pearce.

United kicked off attacking the Leazes End, and they enjoyed virtually all of the possession inside the first five minutes with Charles N'Zogbia looking particularly lively.

But it was the visitors who came close to openiong the scoring on seven minutes, when Sibierski got on the end of a curling free kick from Barton after a foul by Babayaro on Sun Jihai, but Given stuck out a leg to make a good save.

Boumsong then got a talking to off referee Graham Poll after catching Sibierski from behind with a heavy challenge, though no yellow card was produced.

N'Zogbia won the first corner of the game on nine minutes off Distin, but City cleared their lines.

N'Zogbia then had a cross-shot deflected across goal off Onuha after Owen picked him out down the inside left channel on 13 minutes, then three minutes later Bowyer fired well wide after Shearer chested the ball into his path.

On 18 minutes Newcastle took the lead. Shearer and Distin challenged for a high ball, and when the loose ball fell to Bowyer he threaded a pass through to Owen and he stabbed the ball past his England team-mate David James to put The Magpies in front.

On 23 minutes Dunne was booked after going through the back of the United goalscorer just inside the Newcastle half.

City tried to press for a quick leveller, but three crosses in quick succession from Sun Jihai on the right all came to nothing, then Barton was stopped in his tracks by referee Poll as he barged over Given trying to get on the end of an inswinging ball in to the six yard box.

Distin then swept away a long cross from Babayaro on 35 minutes, then N'Zogbia clipped in a teasing cross on 37 minutes for Shearer but the skipper's header went over the bar.

Owen went racing away on 41 minutes after Shearer sent him through on goal ahead of Thatcher, but James stood firm and diverted the ball for a corner, which was cleared.

Parker then picked out Owen on the right channel, and he got in behind Distin before flashing an angled effort just off target.

A long range free kick from Dunne flew over Given's corssbar in time added on and The Magpies went into the break a goal to the good.

Distin had to get on the end of a Babayaro cross on 54 minutes with Shearer ready to pounce behind him, then James had to race out of his box and clear under pressure from Owen after a long ball over the top from Bramble.

Shearer's cross then clipped off Distin on 56 minutes as he tried to pick out Owen in the middle, but the referee and his assistant awarded the throw in to the visitors.

Boumsong got ahead of Barton on 59 minutes to poke the ball out for a corner, and when Barton swung the flag kick in Dunne headed over.

City made a change on the hour, with Stephen Ireland replacing Kiki Musampa.

Shearer flicked the ball to Bowyer down the right on 61 minutes, but his cross was too close to James who snatched the ball ahead of Owen, then when City broke N'Zogbia put out a cross from Thatcher for a corner. Another flag kick quickly followed, this time when Babayaro put the ball out of play, but Dunne put his header wide.

Ireland had the ball in the net on 67 minutes after Vassell's cross, but an offside flag cut short the celebrations.

On 70 minutes Lee Bowyer made way for Amady Faye in Souness' first change of the afternoon. Five minutes later Lee Croft replaced Sibierski for the visitors, and Shearer was replaced by Shola Ameobi.

Bramble got above Ireland on 78 minutes to nod the ball away from Thatcher's cross from the left wing, then from the next attack down the opposite flank Sun Jihai sliced a volley well off target.

Clark crossed for Owen on 79 minutes after N'Zogbia broke away, but the striker couldn't stretch far enough to get a touch to divert the ball past James.

Barton was booked on 81 minutes after a foul on Faye, then when play resumed Babayaro did well to rise above Croft and concede a corner when Vassell whipped a ball to the back post.

City kept pressing as the game went into the last five minutes, and Dunne glanced another header wide from a Barton corner on 85 minutes.

Ameobi then cushioned a pass into the path of N'Zogbia a minute later, but his angled effort rolled well wide of James' left hand upright.

N'Zogbia had a shot charged down by Distin on 87 minutes and won a flag kick, but the short routine between Clark and the Frenchman was snuffed out by City.

Bramble got in a timely sliding challenge to block Barton on 87 minutes, then there was almost a bizarre goal at the other end when Distin's back pass looked like looping over James but the backpedalling goalkeeper headed the ball away off his line.

Bramble put the ball out for another corner in the last minute, but after a scramble in the box the ball ran out for a goal kick.

Two minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end, and Ameobi almost made it 2-0 with the last kick of the game after being set up by Owen but his shot flew across the face of goal.

United: Shay Given, Stephen Carr, Jean Alain Boumsong, Titus Bramble, Celestine Babayaro, Lee Bowyer (Amady Faye 70), Scott Parker, Lee Clark, Charles N'Zogbia, Alan Shearer (Shola Ameobi 75), Michael Owen Subs (not used): Robbie Elliott, Steve Harper, Craig Moore

City: David James, Nedum Onouha, Sylvain Distin, Richard Dunne, Ben Thatcher, Antoine Sibierski (Lee Croft 75), Kiki Musampa (Stephen Ireland 60), Joey Barton, Claudio Reyna, Sun Jihai, Darius Vassell  Subs (not used): Geert De Vleeger, David Sommeil, Stephen Jordan

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