NEWCASTLE UNITED 1
ASTON VILLA 1
St. James' Park
Saturday December 3, 2005
Kick off 3pm
Gary Oliver reports
NEWCASTLE United couldn't find a return to winning ways as they were held 1-1 by Aston Villa at St. James' Park.
But it could have been so much worse for the Magpies if Gareth Barry hadn't blasted an 88th minute spot-kick over the Leazes End goal.
Graeme Souness made four changes to the side beaten at Wigan in the Carling Cup, and saw his team take the lead through a 32nd minute spot-kick converted by captain Alan Shearer - awarded by referee Alan Wiley after Liam Ridgewell had handled a Scott Parker volley.
But the Geordies couldn't find a crucial second goal, and they were made to pay when Lee Hendrie fed Gavin McCann 15 minutes from time and the former Sunderland midfielder dispatched a crisp low strike past Shay Given.
With just two minutes left, Titus Bramble conceded a penalty when he chopped down Milan Baros, but Barry let the Magpies off the hook with a bad miss.
SECOND-HALF ACTION UPDATES
88min - Villa get a penalty as Milan Baros runs on to a Lee Hendrie pass before being clumsily felled by Titus Bramble. However, Gareth Barry makes a right mess of the spot-kick, blazing high into the Leazes End.
87min - With time running out, Graeme Souness makes another change, replacing Nolberto Solano with Lee Bowyer.
85min - Having levelled with a fine strike, Gavin McCann tries to beat Shay Given again from longer range, but his drive cannons of Titus Bramble and behind for a corner as Villa mount a spell of pressure that ends when Eirik Bakke heads wide at the back post from a second corner.
84min - Scott Parker tries to get the Magpies going down their left, but his cross is comfortably dealt with by the visiting backline.
81min - Graeme Souness makes his first substitution, taking off Michael Chopra and introducing Albert Luque.
79min - Amady Faye wins a corner for the Magpies on the left, but twice Nolberto Solano sees his crosses repelled by the visitors.
76min - United almost regain the lead immediately when Peter Ramage pumps a free-kick into the Villa box and it is cleared to Amady Faye 20 yards out, only for his volley to be brilliantly turned away by Thomas Sorensen.
75min - VILLA GOAL: Gareth Barry feeds Lee Hendrie on the left flank and his low ball across the edge of the Newcastle box is met by Gavin McCann who drills a crisp strike past Shay Given to level.
72min - Alan Shearer gets above Wilfred Bouma to meet Robbie Elliott's left-wing cross, but his downward header lands wide of goal.
71min - Alan Shearer wins a corner off Aaron Hughes. Villa only half clear the danger and Nolberto Solano centres for Michael Chopra, but his shot is blocked by a sliding Liam Ridgewell.
68min - United win a corner on the right and Nolberto Solano's delivery is headed over at the near post by Jean Alain Boumsong.
65min - Amady Faye gets in a vital challenge on Eirik Bakke at the expense of a corner. Gareth Barry's delivery reaches Gavin McCann at the back post and his strike is brilliantly clawed away by Shay Given before Bakke's follow-up effort is deflected behind for a second corner that is nodded over by Milan Baros.
64min - Wilfred Bouma's left-wing cross for Villa is headed clear by an alert Robbie Elliott.
63min - A deep free-kick from Olof Mellberg is only half cleared by the Magpies and the ball falls to Lee Hendrie who volleys wide from the edge of Newcastle's 18-yard box.
62min - Villa make a double substitution, withdrawing Steven Davis and Juan Pablo Angel and sending on Eirik Bakker and Luke Moore respectively.
60min - Robbie Elliott's long diagonal pass from left-back is flicked on by Alan Shearer to Michael Chopra, but the striker has his back to goal and cannot find a way past Olof Mellberg, who clears the threat for the visitors.
54min - Alan Shearer picks up a pass from Nolberto Solano and his deep cross is cleared by Olof Mellberg before Michael Chopra can pounce.
53min - Alan Shearer almost doubles Newcastle's lead when he gets ahead of Liam Ridgewell to a downfield punt, but his 20-yard strike clips the top of the Gallowgate End crossbar.
48min - Shola Ameobi launches the first attack of the half, cutting inside from the left but shooting wide from 20 yards.
FIRST-HALF ACTION UPDATES
45min - A neat exchange of passes between Nolberto Solano and Alan Shearer sees the skipper get to the byline, but neither Shola Ameobi nor Michael Chopra is able to capitalise on his low pull-back. Villa break upfield and Lee Hendrie breaks into the Magpies box before tumbling theatrically as he goes past Titus Bramble - but his appeals for a penalty are flatly refused by Alan Wiley and the referee instead books the visiting midfielder for diving.
41min - Good midfield work by Amady Faye sees the Senegalese international head the ball forward to Alan Shearer on the right flank. The skipper hammers in a low cross that eludes the retreating Villa defence but also Michael Chopra.
39min - More Villa pressure as a smart turn by Gareth Barry on the left flank takes him away from Peter Ramage. His cross reaches Juan Pablo Angel, who helps it on to Lee Hendrie, but his shot from the edge of the area is blocked by a superbly-timed Robbie Elliott interception.
37min - Another free-kick for Villa midway inside the United half after Nolberto Solano brings down Steven Davis. Olof Mellberg's delivery is headed clear by Peter Ramage and the hosts eventually clear their lines.
33min - Villa try to respond immediately and Robbie Elliott concedes a free-kick 20 yards out in a dangerous position after a foul on Juan Pablo Angel. Lee Hendrie bends his effort around the wall but it just travels the wrong side of Shay Given's left-hand post.
32min - NEWCASTLE GOAL: Alan Shearer puts the ball on the spot to face Thomas Sorensen at the Leazes End. The Geordie skipper hammers the ball to the keeper's right and even though the Dane got a hand to the ball he cannot prevent it hitting the back of the net and the number nine moves on to 198 goals for Newcastle.
30min - Gavin McCann is the first player to be booked when he chops down Shola Ameobi midway inside the Villa half. The midfielder can have no complaints about Alan Wiley's decision after a string of offences. Nolberto Solano swings over the free-kick from the right and when it is cleared only as far as Scott Parker, his volley goalwards is blocked by the hand of Liam Ridgewell and referee Alan Wiley immediately points to the spot for a penalty.
29min - Steven Davis drives forward for Villa and lays the ball of to his left for Milan Baros. The Czech striker crosses from the byline but it's straight into the arms of Shay Given at his near post.
26min - Good build-up play by United sees Alan Shearer eventually play a pass to Shola Ameobi on his left. He works space off Aaron Hughes and Gavin McCann for a shot, but he curls his low effort wide of Thomas Sorensen's far post from 16 yards.
22min - After a quiet spell, the St. James' crowd comes to life when Alan Shearer flicks on a downfield punt to Michael Chopra and he is held by Liam Ridgewell to give Newcastle a free-kick on the edge of the area. Nolberto Solano takes the dead ball kick against his former club, but his curling effort strikes the head of Gareth Barry in the visiting wall and the ball goes behind for a corner that Thomas Sorensen again punches clear.
15min - Amady Faye is challenged in the air inside the Villa penalty area by first Wilfred Bouma and then Gavin McCann and the Magpies win a couple of corners in quick succession. Thomas Sorensen punches the second to safety and the danger is cleared.
11min - Robbie Elliott clips a ball up the left flank to Shola Ameobi. Under pressure from Aaron Hughes, Ameobi nevertheless delivers a low centre that is cleared by Olof Mellberg.
10min - Lee Hendrie is fouled by Robbie Elliott and Villa get a free-kick in a central position 30 yards from the United goal. Gavin McCann drills in a low right-foot effort that goes behind off Titus Bramble for a corner that comes to nothing.
6min - Lee Hendrie picks up the ball on the Villa right and his cross takes a deflection off Robbie Elliott and loops into the air allowing Shay Given to gather safely under his crossbar.
5min - Nolberto Solano lifts a ball over the top from the right flank looking to play in Michael Chopra, but Thomas Sorensen races from his line to clear.
3min - Gavin McCann fouls Scott Parker giving Newcastle a free-kick on their right midway inside the Villa half. Nolberto Solano's delivery, however, drifts across goal and out of play.
NEWCASTLE United boss Graeme Souness made four changes to the side knocked out of the Carling Cup at Wigan Athletic for the visit of Aston Villa to St. James' Park.
Charles N'Zogbia (fractured hand) and Emre (hamstring) were sidelined, meaning Robbie Elliott lined up at left-back in a defence that included the return of fit-again Titus Bramble.
In midfield, Emre was replaced by Amady Faye, while Lee Bowyer dropped down to the bench and Shola Ameobi was drafted in after recovering from a dead leg.
The final change was in attack, where Michael Chopra partnered Alan Shearer at the expense of Albert Luque, with the Spaniard also among the subs. It was Chopra's first Premiership start of the season.
Villa came north after a Carling Cup setback of their own, losing to Doncaster Rovers in midweek. David O'Leary's side included former Magpie Aaron Hughes, but James Milner missed out as a condition of his season-long loan deal.
Ex-Sunderland pair Thomas Sorensen and Gavin McCann lined up for the visitors, but former Black Cats striker Kevin Phillips was missing from the Villa squad.
Newcastle United: Shay Given, Peter Ramage, Jean Alain Boumsong, Titus Bramble, Robbie Elliott, Nolberto Solano (Lee Bowyer 87m), Amady Faye, Scott Parker, Shola Ameobi, Alan Shearer, Michael Chopra (Albert Luque 81m).
Subs: Steve Harper, Lee Clark, Martin Brittain.
Aston Villa: Thomas Sorensen, Aaron Hughes, Olof Mellberg, Wilfred Bouma, Liam Ridgewell, Lee Hendrie, Gavin McCann, Steven Davis (Eirik Bakke 62m), Gareth Barry, Juan Pablo Angel (Luke Moore 62m), Milan Baros.
Subs: Jllloyd Samuel, Stuart Taylor, Ulises De La Cruz.
Referee: Alan Wiley.