Newcastle gave their best performance of the season, when they easily beat Stoke City 4-1 for a fairy tale ending to a wonderful day for Geordie supporters as they welcomed messiah Kevin Keegan back to manage the club.
After just 8 minutes Newcastle were a goal up as Michael Owen got a deflection in the six yard box and poked home from close range. A typical Michael Owen goal and the crowd erupted.
After 29 minutes Newcastle were reduced to 10 men when Emre was shown a straight red card. Eustace broke from defense and was taken out by Emre midway inside Stoke’s half. Uriah Rennie showed no hesitation in giving the Turkish midfielder a straight card .
Replays showed Rennie had no real choice but to send Emre off. Now we will really be short of midfielders for the visit of Bolton on Saturday since Emre, Smith, Butt, Faye and Smith are all unavailable.
However, following Emre’s dismissal Newcastle continued to attack and from a beautiful N’Zogbia corner after 31 minutes Claudio Cacapa got nicely into space and headed the ball powerfully past Simonsen for his second goal for the club. A great time to get a second goal.
For the remainder of the half Newcastle didn’t seem to be affected by the loss of Emre and continued to attack right up to half time and looked a yard quicker than Stoke City.
Newcastle continued to attack in the second half seemingly not too worried by being a man down. After 68 minutes Viduka flicked a long ball downfield to his left and into the path of Milner, and the youngster drove a low right-footed drive into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area. A great goal by the 22 year-old.
After 76 minutes Newcastle make a quick break from a Stoke free-kick and suddenly it’s three-on-one in favor of the Geordies and Milner released N’Zogbia to his right, Shawcross was drawn to the Frenchman and he slipped through the ball to Duff who was clean through on goal.Â Duff coolly slotted the ball low past Simonsen for his first goal of the season. A nice goal by Damien who looked sharp all night.
But after 89 minutes the clean sheet that we had hoped for wasn’t to be, and Liam Lawrence scored a nice goal as he curled the ball past Given just before the end of the game. That’s a little warning that Newcastle still have great difficulty keeping clean sheets and their defense is still not good enough.
But it meant nothing to the game and Newcastle finished off the 2 minutes of injury time with the crowd of 35,000 making a tremendous noise of excitement and relief – that King Kev is back.
Charles N’Zogbia, who played central midfield, as many supporters had wanted under Sam Allardcye, had a great game and was voted man of the match. Maybe this is Charles’ best position – he looked a real little dynamo and poetry in motion tonight.