In a game in which Newcastle seemed to come of age, two second half goals by the great Oba Martins was enough to give Newcastle all 3 points against a good Aston Villa side.
Newcastle are now in 14 th position in the league, up a cool 6 places, and just ahead of old foe – Sunderland. 😀
Things had been all square in the first half with Villa having the better chances and Agbonlahor missing the proverbial sitter after 22 minutes but it was a very well balanced game, and the first goal was going to be crucial.
It was all square at the break and 0-0 seemed a fair half time score.
Villa came out strong in the second half, but for once our defense looked tighter than of late.
But then Oba Martins, who was on obvious instructions from Kinnear, to shoot if he got any kind of opportunity to have a go, did just that.
On 60 minutes Oba got the ball just outside and turned to his right around Laursen and brilliantly drilled a left foot shot just inside Friedel’s left hand post – a wonderful opportunist goal by the Nigerian, and the fans, as well as Oba, went wild.
The goal seemed to give Newcastle that extra bit of confidence, and to be fair, the team had played very well to take the lead in a very tight game, but now with the extra confidence, they looked even better.
But then some slack marking around 75 minutes was cause for concern for the Newcastle faithful. The crowd was a disappointing 44,567 – not good enough – but the fans who went had a night to remember.
But those in the ground made up for those fans missing with some tremendous noise and roared on their team, following Oba’s great goal.
And then that man Oba Martins did it again as Jonas, who had another good game, beat the challenge of Reo-Coker and raced into the penalty area before setting it up on a plate for Oba. Martins made no mistake to get his second goal of the night and his 5th of the season, to tie a certain Michael Owen.
That was all the goals, but we also got a clean sheet, which will delight Joe Kinnear. It’s the first clean sheet since we beat Bolton Wanderers at home in August by 1-0.
In a good piece of man management from Kinnear Oba was replaced by Claudio Cacapa to see out time, and Oba, our match winner, got a very well deserved ovation from the crowd, no wonder this boy is loved so much on Tyneside.
Then Michael Owen came on near the end for big Shola Ameobi, but not before Habib Beye almost made it three, when he tested Friedel with an explosive shot from a narrow angle.
A wonderful gutsy performance from the lads, and we hope the fans will start returning, because staying away is only hurting Joe Kinnear, the players and our club – whatever the state of things right now.
A great win tonight – and the lads looked good doing it too.
Howay The Lads!!
Newcastle United: Shay Given, Habib Beye, Jose Enrique, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Nicky Butt (c), Joey Barton, Jonas Gutierrez, Damien Duff, Oba Martins, Shola Ameobi
Subs: Steve Harper, Claudio Cacapa, Danny Guthrie, Michael Owen, Sebastien Bassong, Charles N’Zogbia, Geremi
Aston Villa: Brad Friedel, Luke Young, Carlos Cuellar, Martin Laursen, Nicky Shorey, Nigel Reo-Coker, Gareth Barry, John Carew, Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner, Ashley Young
Subs: Steve Sidwell, Marlon Harewood, Curtis Davies, Zat Knight, Moustapha Salifou, Bradley Guzan, Craig Gardner
Referee: Steve Bennett