Alan Shearer last night rightly paid tribute to his players, who put in a performance to remember, when it really mattered for the famous Newcastle United club.
Mark Viduka – great game last night
There were some great performances from the Newcastle players last night, and none was better than the display of Mark Viduka, who led the line brilliantly for the Magpies. Mark hit the woodwork after just 5 minutes, which had almost immediately equalized Middlesbrough’s goal after just two and a half minutes. He may be injured an awful lot but this man can play.
A bullet header after 9 minutes by that mercurial Geordie lad Steven Taylor, from a Danny Guthrie corner, an opportunist goal from Oba Martins on 71 minutes, within a minute of replacing Michael Owen, and another well taken goal by Peter Lovenkrands on 86 minutes, were too much for a gallant Middlesbrough side, who will now probably be relegated.
But there’s still two games left, and as we know strange can still happen.
Alan Shearer was also at his best last night, urging on his players and reading the game well with some inspired substituions:
“I thought the players were brilliant tonight.” “I asked them to show me courage, determination and ability – and they showed me all that.” “It would have been easy for them to feel sorry for themselves at 1-0 down but they didn’t let it affect them.” “They still had the courage and belief and there were some big, big performances there tonight.”
“We deserved to win. We were the better side and created chances for most of the game. We needed Steve Harper to come to the rescue a couple of times.” “But I’ve said to them: `Enjoy being out of the bottom three. We’ve been there for a long time … let’s make sure we are not back in there again.’
“We forgot how to win football matches and the longer it goes on the harder it becomes. But they have shown me tonight what they’ve shown me in training.” “I knew there was a performance like that in them. There was sense of relief when the third goal went in but it was a matter of getting that second goal, for then you could see the confidence in the players.”
“All my players were brilliant and they deserve all the credit they will get.”
It has been a long time in coming, this first home win of the year, and only our 7th win all season, but it was an exhilarating display from the boys in black and white. The back four was steady, and Nolan had his best game for Newcastle, laying on both second half goals. Danny Guthrie had an excellent game out wide on the right, and it was his corner that Steven Taylor magnificently headed home.
Nicky Butt was steady in midfield, and Mark Viduka sublime up front.
In a season when the players have seemed to often lack inspiration, spirit and skill, this was a stunning performance from Newcastle, and will be remembered well by the 51,000 present in a game beamed live around the world.
The Newcastle faithful were simply magnificent all night, and the sea of black and white, with flags and scarves on the night, was a sight to behold.
We’ve seen similar fan excitement at places like Liverpool, when they won their many European Cups, but this was a relegation fight, for heavens’s sake, and Newcastle started the game joint bottom of the league.
This could only happen at Newcastle, and we now have to hope the lads have gained the confidence to go on from here, and give the long enduring Newcastle fans another win in our last home game on Saturday against a good Fulham side.
That would be fantastic, and a fitting end to a nightmare season.